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Drug kingpins in State remain elusive

By R Dutta Choudhury
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GUWAHATI, Aug 4 - Though the number of arrests of drug peddlers and addicts has increased considerably in Assam in recent times, the most disturbing fact is that majority of the addicts are found to be very young boys and girls. Moreover, in most of the cases, the investigation of the cases reached a dead end with the police failing to arrest the kingpins involved in drug trafficking.

Highly placed police sources told The Assam Tribune that the majority of the addicts picked up by the police were found to be in the age group of late teens and early 20s, which is a most disturbing trend. Sources said that the law enforcing agencies alone cannot deal with the problem and the society as a whole has a role to play in this regard. Of course, a number of detections in recent times were made with the help of the public, which is a positive sign and proves that the people in general have become aware of the magnitude of the problem.

Police sources pointed out that the guardians have a key role to play as they should keenly notice if there is any change of behaviour of their sons and daughters, while the educational institutions should keep a close watch on the students and report to the law enforcing agencies if any student is found to be using any psychotropic substance in the premises of the institutions.

Sources said that though the detections have increased, it does not necessarily mean that drug abuse has increased and it is believed that Assam is still being used mostly as a transit route. According to available reports, drugs are brought into India mostly through the international border with Myanmar through Manipur and Nagaland and sent to various parts of the country and abroad. Trucks carrying goods are the most common means of drug trafficking and it is not possible for the police to check each and every truck thoroughly. �Only when we get specific inputs, we can check trucks with specific registration numbers. It is humanely not possible to thoroughly check each and every truck passing through the State,� sources added. The same is the case with trains as it is not possible to open the baggage of every passenger.

Now general people have become more alert and very often they inform the police, while the law enforcing agencies have also become more active, sources said. In Guwahati city itself, the operations are launched frequently by the teams headed by the Deputy Commissioners of Police, while personnel of the crime branch help the teams out whenever necessary.

Sources said that the Health Department also has a key role to play and the police offered a suggestion before an Assembly committee that CCTV cameras should be installed in the pharmacies so that young persons are not allowed to procure psychotropic drugs like sleeping tablets, cough syrups, etc, without a prescription from an authorized medical practitioner.

Sources said that the number of rehabilitation centres for the addicts should be increased and there should be proper follow-up of the addicts who are cured in such centres to ensure that they do not relapse into addiction.

On the failure of the police to get to the kingpins, sources admitted that it is always a problem and the investigations often reach a wall. The drug dealers and peddlers often work in a chain system and they only know the persons who supplied them the drugs. In the majority of the cases, the peddlers do not know the kingpins involved in drug trafficking and that is why it is often difficult to arrest the kingpins, sources said. Police also said that there should be proper coordination between the police forces of all the States of the region and the Central agencies to deal with the menace and the society also has to play a key role in this regard.

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Drug kingpins in State remain elusive

GUWAHATI, Aug 4 - Though the number of arrests of drug peddlers and addicts has increased considerably in Assam in recent times, the most disturbing fact is that majority of the addicts are found to be very young boys and girls. Moreover, in most of the cases, the investigation of the cases reached a dead end with the police failing to arrest the kingpins involved in drug trafficking.

Highly placed police sources told The Assam Tribune that the majority of the addicts picked up by the police were found to be in the age group of late teens and early 20s, which is a most disturbing trend. Sources said that the law enforcing agencies alone cannot deal with the problem and the society as a whole has a role to play in this regard. Of course, a number of detections in recent times were made with the help of the public, which is a positive sign and proves that the people in general have become aware of the magnitude of the problem.

Police sources pointed out that the guardians have a key role to play as they should keenly notice if there is any change of behaviour of their sons and daughters, while the educational institutions should keep a close watch on the students and report to the law enforcing agencies if any student is found to be using any psychotropic substance in the premises of the institutions.

Sources said that though the detections have increased, it does not necessarily mean that drug abuse has increased and it is believed that Assam is still being used mostly as a transit route. According to available reports, drugs are brought into India mostly through the international border with Myanmar through Manipur and Nagaland and sent to various parts of the country and abroad. Trucks carrying goods are the most common means of drug trafficking and it is not possible for the police to check each and every truck thoroughly. �Only when we get specific inputs, we can check trucks with specific registration numbers. It is humanely not possible to thoroughly check each and every truck passing through the State,� sources added. The same is the case with trains as it is not possible to open the baggage of every passenger.

Now general people have become more alert and very often they inform the police, while the law enforcing agencies have also become more active, sources said. In Guwahati city itself, the operations are launched frequently by the teams headed by the Deputy Commissioners of Police, while personnel of the crime branch help the teams out whenever necessary.

Sources said that the Health Department also has a key role to play and the police offered a suggestion before an Assembly committee that CCTV cameras should be installed in the pharmacies so that young persons are not allowed to procure psychotropic drugs like sleeping tablets, cough syrups, etc, without a prescription from an authorized medical practitioner.

Sources said that the number of rehabilitation centres for the addicts should be increased and there should be proper follow-up of the addicts who are cured in such centres to ensure that they do not relapse into addiction.

On the failure of the police to get to the kingpins, sources admitted that it is always a problem and the investigations often reach a wall. The drug dealers and peddlers often work in a chain system and they only know the persons who supplied them the drugs. In the majority of the cases, the peddlers do not know the kingpins involved in drug trafficking and that is why it is often difficult to arrest the kingpins, sources said. Police also said that there should be proper coordination between the police forces of all the States of the region and the Central agencies to deal with the menace and the society also has to play a key role in this regard.

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