Cops move to choke drug supply

Police work with five states - AASU raises voice against the menace in Assam

By Avishek Sengupta in Guwahati
  • Published 14.05.16
Members of AASU take out a bike rally in Guwahati on Friday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, May 13: Assam police are coordinating with at least five states to choke the supply channels of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances in the state.

Assam director-general of police Mukesh Sahay said his department has contacted the police of Bihar, Punjab and Haryana in the west and Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur in the Northeast after the recent drug hauls in the state.

"According to our information, the contraband substances come from these states. So we have informed their police departments. We will coordinate with these states to thwart the supply channels," he told The Telegraph here today. "It is a routine we follow whenever we seize contraband substances - we try to track its origin and destination. Based on that, we inform the states concerned and launch operations in coordination with them," he added.

"At times it is hard to identify the channel of the substances from the statement of the apprehended addict or peddler. We then go by the nature of the substance to find its origin," the DGP said.

"Synthetic drugs enter the state from Punjab and Haryana. Brown sugar, an adulterated form of heroin, comes from Bihar which procures the opium from Bhutan and processes it into brown sugar. Brown sugar and heroin are also produced in the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur and the neighbouring country of Myanmar. Cannabis ( ganja) is mostly produced in the hill states of India and in Nepal. We identify the products according to their origin and proceed with the investigation," Sahay said.

Assam police began a major crackdown after a section of citizens helped it bust a drug racket at Latasil here about a fortnight ago. This resulted in a major drug haul in the city, in Silchar and in Dibrugarh district. Contraband valued at more than Rs 7 crore was seized. Over 50 persons across Assam, 35 of them from the city, were booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

Three persons, believed to be close aides of Upper Assam's drug kingpin Elahi Sekh, who is still absconding, were apprehended from Kalibari area of Dibrugarh town along with 12gm brown sugar on Wednesday.

C.K. Boro, officer-in-charge of Dibrugarh police station, said, "Sekh's network of drug peddlers primarily comprises women and school dropouts. He channels drugs into Dibrugarh through postal courier, after which peddlers distribute it in Upper Assam and to Arunachal Pradesh through waterways and roadways. After the crackdown, Sekh has fled Dibrugarh but we are trying our best to arrest him."

A police source said brown sugar is smuggled from Buxar district of Bihar through trains and buses. "Pantry cars in trains are the soft targets of the drug network," he said.

A task force, headed by the additional chief secretary of the home department T.Y. Das, was formed on Wednesday to address the drug problem.

Today, the All Assam Students Union, which had been raising its voice against the drug menace in the state since the Latasil haul, organised bike rallies in Bongaigaon town as well as in Jonai, Silapathar, Dhemaji and Gogamukh - four major towns of Dhemaji district.

After the rally, it submitted a memorandum to the Bongaigaon deputy commissioner, urging him to take action against drug traffickers and abusers.

"We want the district authority to take action against drug abusers and peddlers. Awareness must be spread among the people against narcotics abuse," Birkumar Adhikary, a leader of the AASU's Bongaigaon unit, said.

Additional reporting by Avik Chakraborty from Dibrugarh, Vinod Kumar Singh from Dhemaji and Tejesh Kumar from Bongaigaon