Crime In COVID Time

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Police should relentlessly fight drug trade and prostitution

Even as the coronavirus pandemic rages in the state, rave parties and prostitution continue, much to the shock of the Goans at large, but to the profit of those engaged in the nefarious activities, often with local political patronage. Unscrupulous elements have been organising rave parties to make money, while others are pushing female victims into flesh trade. One rave party organised at a villa at Vagator was busted a few days ago by the crime branch of the state police, which resulted in the arrest of 23 people and seizure of drugs worth over Rs 9 lakh. That the crime branch had to act in busting the rave party indicates that the local police failed in their obligation to check the criminal activity, perhaps due to political influence over them. There have been several instances of drugs being seized from peddlers, indicating that drug trade continues with the active patronage of some powerful people. In addition, several persons have been arrested for their involvement in prostitution and female victims rescued in recent weeks.

Though there have been complaints of rave parties and prostitution going on for quite some time, there has been a lackadaisical approach by the authorities to stop them. It is very intriguing to note that despite restriction on assembly of people and strict guidelines being issued in wake of rising COVID-19 cases in the state, criminal elements continue to ignore the directives to protect themselves and others from the highly contagious disease that has affected over 11,600 people and claimed 104 lives so far in the state. Drugs like cocaine, MDMA, ecstasy tablets and charas were found at the rave party venue which indicates that those behind rave parties have utter contempt for the law and law enforcement agencies.  They also have the least respect for human lives as there is every possibility of people there contracting coronavirus and endangering their lives and those of their contact further on. With some of those involved in illegal activities and drug trade having been held, the authorities should ensure that those still at large are caught.

Goa has been plagued by drug abuse and prostitution for a long time. Although political leaders across the spectrum have been asking for curbs on the nefarious activities, the approach of the state administration has been found to be not very effective. It has often been alleged that politicians have been patronizing those involved in drug trade. After denying the existence of the drug trade for a long time the government woke up after two people died of drug abuse at a party in Anjuna some years ago. Though a crackdown was ordered, the authorities have not been able to root it out. The drive, which led to seizure of huge quantities of drugs and arrest of dozens of people involved in drug trafficking, apparently lost steam with the spread of the coronavirus, causing the drug trade to resurface. Similar has been the case with prostitution as more and more people continue to be apprehended for human trafficking and pushing hapless victims into the trade.

As several instances of illegal drugs and prostitution activities have come to fore in the recent months, it is apparent that those behind the two nefarious trades are able to get both protection as well as customers. It has been alleged that the organiser of the party at Vagator had recently met a few politicians. Though the politicians might deny their proximity with the organiser, the police must probe into it. The allegations of the nexus between the politicians and criminals are serious and the state government must take them seriously. By carrying out raids against those involved in rave parties, the crime branch of the state police has shown the kind of courage that Goans at large would appreciate. The state government must realize that in order to curb these nefarious activities the police must be allowed autonomy. The leaders of political parties should also understand that they have a very important role to play in making Goa free from drugs and prostitution. The networks for carrying out these criminal activities must not corrupt local people. Politicians must work sincerely to see that it does not happen.