Other States

Cops in net as anti-drug drive intensifies in northeast

In May 2020, the police in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Kameng district arrested a Postmaster named Kalido Pertin for providing ₹1.15 lakh to procure 12.5 gm of heroin from Assam’s Tezpur. They also arrested an Indian Reserve Battalion constable who helped two drug-traffickers cross the Bhalukpong check gate on the Arunachal Pradesh-Assam border.

The arrests confirmed what the State government had been suspecting for a long time — drug addiction among government employees. This culminated in the Pema Khandu government asking its employees to report their addiction to senior officers by July 31 this year for a rehabilitation programme, or face legal action.

But the anti-drug drive in the State since May has led the security forces to their own. Less than a fortnight ago, Home Minister Bamang Felix said 25 out of 143 people booked in 100 drug-related cases were police personnel, two of whom have been dismissed from service.

“Some police personnel in districts such as West Kameng, Papum Pare, Lower Subansiri, East Siang, Namsai, Changlang and Tirap are under the scanner,” he said almost a week after two Indian Reserve Battalion personnel posted in Arunachal Pradesh were arrested by the Assam police near the inter-State border.

On June 13, a constable named Chillong Techi was arrested in Arunachal Pradesh’s Naharlagun with two others on suspicion of drug-peddling. The police recovered 68.24 gm of suspected heroin from them.

More people were arrested after the constable confessed to having misused his uniform to peddle drugs into Naharlagun and State capital Itanagar from a kingpin operating from Banderdewa bordering Assam.

According to Oli Koyu, the nodal officer of the State Anti-Narcotic Bureau, drug addiction in Arunachal Pradesh has gone beyond alarming levels. “At least 15 districts are affected by the menace of synthetic drug addiction while some districts of eastern Arunachal grow opium for want of alternative livelihood options,” he said.

Apart from the porous inter-State border and hilly terrain, police have often been thwarted by the modus operandi of drug peddlers to dodge the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985.

“We know who the peddlers are but it is difficult to book them under the tough sections of the NDPS Act because they distribute the narcotic substances to a network of operators and customers. They either don’t keep the stuff with them or have too little to make a strong case,” Dekio Gumja, Naharlagun’s Sub Divisional Police Officer told The Hindu.

A person has to possess a minimum commercial quantity of a narcotic substance to be booked under the peddling section of the NDPS Act. The minimum quantity for cannabis is 2 kg; it’s 250 gm for heroin.

Among the first persons in uniform to have been arrested this year for allegedly facilitating drug-trafficking was Sub-Inspector Musaddique Hussain of the Assam police’s Special Branch. Two drug dealers arrested from a Guwahati hotel in March had squealed about him.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 1:39:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/cops-in-net-as-anti-drug-drive-intensifies-in-northeast/article34865964.ece

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