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Arunachal police’s positive approach yields jobs for reformed drug addicts

Reformed drug addicts with members of the Anti-Drug Squad and Nagarik Bhachara Samiti at Roing, headquarters of Lower Dibang Valley district of Arunachal Prdesh. SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Reformed drug addicts with members of the Anti-Drug Squad and Nagarik Bhachara Samiti at Roing, headquarters of Lower Dibang Valley district of Arunachal Prdesh. SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT  

Omin Pertin joined an open school before receiving an appointment letter from a public sector undertaking via Arunachal Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein on June 26.

This would not have been out of the ordinary in the frontier State had the Class 11 dropout not held his employment letter soon after completing a drug de-addiction camp. Four others from the camp got the contractual job too, but he was the only one to enrol for classes in distance learning mode.

I am living a dream now: Omin

“I am living a dream now. I intend to not drift back into the nightmare that took some years out of my life,” says the 20-year-old from Meka village near Roing, headquarters of the Lower Dibang Valley district.

Omin began snorting heroin and cannabis while studying in a higher secondary school at Boleng close to his village. He dropped out in 2018 to peddle drugs for sustaining his addiction and ran into the Roing-based Anti-Drug Squad (ADS) a year later.

Fortunately for him, this wasn’t a squad that believed only in using the baton or putting addicts and peddlers behind bars.

The Crime Unit of ADS under nodal officer S.S. Jha arrested 69 drug dealers since its formation in July 2017. But the fight against addiction in a State notorious for growing cannabis and opium began to yield results after the squad added the Rehabilitation Unit in October 2019 with inspector R.K. Mishra as its nodal officer.

The rehabilitation programme entailed opening a counselling centre atop the Roing police station building. Omin was among the first batch of 27 boys at the centre along with Mingkeng Pertin, Ranbo Pertin, Mabom Tapak and Akhunga Umpey.

Focus on those who are deeper in vortex

The squad had profiled the five for special attention as they were deeper in the vortex than the 22 others. In February, they were sent for a 90-day rehabilitation camp run by an NGO in Guwahati.

They underwent home quarantine after returning to Roing in May and were roped in as counsellors at the ADS centre. Seven more from the second batch of 41 addicts and drug-peddlers have been chosen for undergoing the rehabilitation camp after the lockdown in Guwahati ends.

Sanjay Kumar Sain, SP, would rather attribute the outcome of the anti-drug crusade to the community-based, students and women’s organisations and the local Nagarik Bhaichara Samiti (Citizens’ Brotherhood Committee) besides the drug abuse victims.

“The main challenge is to motivate the addicts to get rid of the habit, to ensure constant supervision of the boys so that they will not relapse and above all create awareness amidst their families and society that the boys are not the problem, their drug habit is,” he told The Hindu.

Mr. Sain had on May 18 written to the district head of the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation, pointing out that the complete rehabilitation of the youth would only be possible if they are given the opportunity to be self-reliant. The appointment letters came a week later.

The revamped programmes included maintaining a drug-user registry at all police stations in the district for reaching out to the families of identified addicts, and involving healthcare professions and anti-addiction experts besides providing counselling.

Creation of an intelligence network

Various local organisations and traditional village bodies were also tapped for creation of an intelligence network for information about drug-peddlers in the area.

“The biggest satisfaction is to see these youths rehabilitated by our efforts motivating other drug abuse victims to keep off the habit,” Mr. Sain said.

Ranbo, 23, one of the five to have received a job letter, is happy to let his parents in Boleng village know that he is no longer wasting his life. But he is happier to be of help to those who had lost the way like him.

“As a counsellor now, I am trying to motivate addicts every Sunday. We had seven in our first session, 13 in the second. We are expecting 21 on Sunday,” says the Class 12 dropout, who does not believe in hiding his past.

He and the four others are looking forward to starting their two-month probation with the PSU later in July.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 4:05:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/arunachal-polices-positive-approach-yields-jobs-for-reformed-drug-addicts/article32052493.ece

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