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Rise in drug peddling during lockdown in Lakhimpur

By Farhana Ahmed

NORTH LAKHIMPUR, July 4 - When the entire country was experiencing the first few days of nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an ambulance carrying a sick person from Nagaon district came to Bihpuria in Lakhimpur district, on March 29 night. The ambulance (AS-07-AC-8374) was stopped by the police at Narayanpur and a search inside led to the seizure of 35 grams of heroin. Police arrested Jiabur Rahman (40), a resident of Kampur, Nagaon, Arup Borah and Jamiruddin (35) from Bihpuria and Niranjan Konwar (30) of Bandardewa.

As the lockdown was eased from June onwards, a car (AS07-M-8922) coming from Kaliabor in Nagaon district to Laluk in Lakhimpur was intercepted by police at Sootea in Biswanath district on June 10. There was heroin weighing 180 grams, concealed inside the door panel of the car. Police arrested Jiten Biswas (32) and Sanjay Bhattacharjee (22) � both from Laluk. On July 20, 2018, Biswas had been arrested along with four others from Naharlagun in Arunachal Pradesh with one 9 mm pistol, two live rounds and around 85 grams of heroin. He was also arrested in 2015 at Sipajhar in Darrang district with banned substances.

This was followed by a number of arrests by Lakhimpur police of drug peddlers during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Notable among them was the recovery of 10 gram heroin from one Ritul Bhuyan (23) of Banderdewa on June 13, recovery of 11.7 grams of heroin from Nipon Das and Subhanjal Das from Mazgaon, Nowboicha on June 16, recovery of 1.40 grams of heroin from Md Saidul Rahman and Ushalata Doley in Parbattipur, Banderdewa on June 26, incidentally on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

On the night of July 3, Lakhimpur Police recovered 12.7 grams of heroin worth Rs 85,000 from one Rakesh Pegu after a long chase at Banderdewa. Rakesh, a history-sheeter in bike theft and burglary, recently turned a drug peddler during the COVID-19 pandemic, says Lakhimpur Police.

According to Rajveer, SP, Lakhimpur, most of the criminals arrested were pretty new to drugs peddling and their change in crime was attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apart from heroin, peddling of other narcotics like cannabis (ganja) and pharmaceutical drugs have also risen considerably during the period. On June 28, Lakhimpur police recovered 84.14 kg of ganja from one Ila Mondal and Kamal Ramchiyari in Jorabari, Narayanpur. This was preceded by the recovery of 573 bottles of cough syrups from Chittaranjan Mondal and Chandra Bhowmik at Konwarpur village In Kalakhowa, Nowboicha on June 16.

The successful operations against drug peddlers in Lakhimpur district is because of the zero tolerance policy against the crime by the police. The district has been hit by the menace of drug trafficking and drug abuse for quite sometime. On April, 16, 2018, the death of one Priyangshu Madhukalya (24) at North Lakhimpur was attributed to the growing menace of substance abuse, as confessed by two persons arrested in connection with the case. In September 2017, a college student, Imran Ahmed, was murdered by two of his seniors allegedly for the former�s refusal to cough up �extortions� for buying drugs.

Areas near colleges and private hostels, bridges and deserted streets, the under-construction National Highway-15 bypass, offices and other public places with no power connection have long been favourite spots for such activities. Roadside kiosks, paan shops and some pharmacies in the town do brisk business by covertly selling these substances which are codenamed �baba� and �weed�.

Talking to this correspondent, the Superintendent of Police, Lakhimpur, Rajveer said that the trail of drug trafficking in the district leads to Nagaon. �Drug dealers from Lakhimpur district buy them from sellers in Nagaon and its nearby areas,� he said. On being asked about any connection with international drug traffickers, the SP answered that there was no direct contact. However the concern in Lakhimpur district is that though some peddlers have been arrested, the source of the supply, the drug dealers and mafias are yet to be identified and traced.

The change of pattern of crime in Lakhimpur district due to COVID-19 pandemic and its checking by the police is significant. Crimes by returnees from outside the State, re-organisation and new configuration of criminals has created a different situation in Lakhimpur district, which is now well monitored and controlled by the police.

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Rise in drug peddling during lockdown in Lakhimpur

NORTH LAKHIMPUR, July 4 - When the entire country was experiencing the first few days of nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an ambulance carrying a sick person from Nagaon district came to Bihpuria in Lakhimpur district, on March 29 night. The ambulance (AS-07-AC-8374) was stopped by the police at Narayanpur and a search inside led to the seizure of 35 grams of heroin. Police arrested Jiabur Rahman (40), a resident of Kampur, Nagaon, Arup Borah and Jamiruddin (35) from Bihpuria and Niranjan Konwar (30) of Bandardewa.

As the lockdown was eased from June onwards, a car (AS07-M-8922) coming from Kaliabor in Nagaon district to Laluk in Lakhimpur was intercepted by police at Sootea in Biswanath district on June 10. There was heroin weighing 180 grams, concealed inside the door panel of the car. Police arrested Jiten Biswas (32) and Sanjay Bhattacharjee (22) � both from Laluk. On July 20, 2018, Biswas had been arrested along with four others from Naharlagun in Arunachal Pradesh with one 9 mm pistol, two live rounds and around 85 grams of heroin. He was also arrested in 2015 at Sipajhar in Darrang district with banned substances.

This was followed by a number of arrests by Lakhimpur police of drug peddlers during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Notable among them was the recovery of 10 gram heroin from one Ritul Bhuyan (23) of Banderdewa on June 13, recovery of 11.7 grams of heroin from Nipon Das and Subhanjal Das from Mazgaon, Nowboicha on June 16, recovery of 1.40 grams of heroin from Md Saidul Rahman and Ushalata Doley in Parbattipur, Banderdewa on June 26, incidentally on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

On the night of July 3, Lakhimpur Police recovered 12.7 grams of heroin worth Rs 85,000 from one Rakesh Pegu after a long chase at Banderdewa. Rakesh, a history-sheeter in bike theft and burglary, recently turned a drug peddler during the COVID-19 pandemic, says Lakhimpur Police.

According to Rajveer, SP, Lakhimpur, most of the criminals arrested were pretty new to drugs peddling and their change in crime was attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apart from heroin, peddling of other narcotics like cannabis (ganja) and pharmaceutical drugs have also risen considerably during the period. On June 28, Lakhimpur police recovered 84.14 kg of ganja from one Ila Mondal and Kamal Ramchiyari in Jorabari, Narayanpur. This was preceded by the recovery of 573 bottles of cough syrups from Chittaranjan Mondal and Chandra Bhowmik at Konwarpur village In Kalakhowa, Nowboicha on June 16.

The successful operations against drug peddlers in Lakhimpur district is because of the zero tolerance policy against the crime by the police. The district has been hit by the menace of drug trafficking and drug abuse for quite sometime. On April, 16, 2018, the death of one Priyangshu Madhukalya (24) at North Lakhimpur was attributed to the growing menace of substance abuse, as confessed by two persons arrested in connection with the case. In September 2017, a college student, Imran Ahmed, was murdered by two of his seniors allegedly for the former�s refusal to cough up �extortions� for buying drugs.

Areas near colleges and private hostels, bridges and deserted streets, the under-construction National Highway-15 bypass, offices and other public places with no power connection have long been favourite spots for such activities. Roadside kiosks, paan shops and some pharmacies in the town do brisk business by covertly selling these substances which are codenamed �baba� and �weed�.

Talking to this correspondent, the Superintendent of Police, Lakhimpur, Rajveer said that the trail of drug trafficking in the district leads to Nagaon. �Drug dealers from Lakhimpur district buy them from sellers in Nagaon and its nearby areas,� he said. On being asked about any connection with international drug traffickers, the SP answered that there was no direct contact. However the concern in Lakhimpur district is that though some peddlers have been arrested, the source of the supply, the drug dealers and mafias are yet to be identified and traced.

The change of pattern of crime in Lakhimpur district due to COVID-19 pandemic and its checking by the police is significant. Crimes by returnees from outside the State, re-organisation and new configuration of criminals has created a different situation in Lakhimpur district, which is now well monitored and controlled by the police.

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