In an attempt to curb the menace of drug related crimes, which are on the rise in Meghalaya, police have intensified operations against drug syndicates operating in the city. In a statement on May7, 2018, East Khasi Hills District Superintendent of Police Davis NR Marak informed that police have observed that many drug traffickers are operating out of rented premises in the city, in light of the seriousness and prevalence of drug related crimes, which are liable to action under the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, Police have warned house owners against permitting their premises to be used by their tenants to sell drugs.
The Superintendent of Police also informed that Anti-Narcotic Task Force (ANTF) personnel had apprehended few traffickers in the city for selling Marijuana in Paltan Bazar, another under Madanrting Police Station and recovered one plastic box and 5 golden tobacco tins containing suspected heroin, another person from his rented house at Demthring where a sack was recovered from behind his apartment which was suspected to be thrown out by the accused on seeing the police approaching his house. The sack contained 13 soap cases containing suspected heroin.
The ANTF along with Madanrting police on May 4 also apprehended one drug peddler from Lumjingsuk Block - A, and recovered one soap case containing inside suspected to be heroin, he latter led police to another person, who was apprehended from his rented house at Lumjingsuk Block- A. Police recovered 20 soap cases and 32 golden tobacco tin containers from his residence all containing suspected heroin besides cash amounting to Rs 2,14,400.
These arrests and seizures were made within the same week, which only confirms the extent of the drugs menace in the city, where the society, claiming to be of Christian state, has been extremely broad-minded when it comes to lifestyles. At the same time, the society at large is very much career oriented particularly for government jobs, which had led to the rat-race to outsmart the competitors in the already saturated government post. In this mad race to get a job and efforts to maintain a certain lifestyle, most of the parents have ignored the family life which has resulted in most youth seeking attention from the family and in the absence of this, have taken solace in drugs and other intoxicating substances.
On the other hand, a section of the society is blaming the government for the failure to generate employment. The lack of employment avenues has forced some to taken recourse in earning their bread as vendors or hawkers. Many people with vested interests have jumped into the opportunity as drug peddler, disguised as vendors around the commercial areas, educational institutions and some are visible even in government office premises.
The Superintendent of Police has only pinpointed the house owner, warning against them against compliance if their respective tenant turns out to be drugs peddlers. Off course it is consider as shifting responsibility for the failure to nab the drug traffickers and the kingpins, who in most cases do not trade in their own residence, but in their own vehicle, be it two or four wheels, parked either in streets corners, parking lots or busy location, as both the peddlers and the addicts can easily spot each other to complete the trading. In most cases the traffickers are gambling in the parked vehicle as they wait for their customers.
As per a survey, most of the addicts are also peddlers, selling the same to novice or acquaintances only to make extra cash for their own drug needs. This has only aggravated the situation and this is why in most cases the arrested addicts or peddlers are acquaintances, or at times, is the same person, which is the outcome of the ANTF for recovering small quantity of the banned substances, while the kingpins are untraced, at the same time unaffected to carry on their business.
ANTF need to be pro-active, first and foremost to intensify surveillance on all such suspected locations, hawkers, or their own informers. An addict or even peddler should be under their radar of day to day observation as this might at least suppress such trade.
ANTF as an attempt to sensitize the society of the drug menace should create awareness programmes in educational institutions, at the same time use one common cellphone number as a Helpline of the Task Force, not only to help the addicts but also enable the general public to send sms or wattapp messags with the picture of the activities of drug peddling, assuring that the identity of the informers will not be disclosed.
Just a helpline number will surely keep the ANTF personnel on the toes, but most important of all it will help in preventing the spread of this menace which is decaying the society. At the same time the Task Force will be more active. The judiciary meanwhile should be more rigid in dealing with such anti-social elements of the society.