Panic spreads as war on drug intensified | 2018-07-13 |

Panic spreads as war on drug intensified

Md Esaraf Hossain     13 July, 2018 12:00 AM printer

Panic has gripped the drug traders, both in urban and rural areas, as the law enforcers have intensified war on drugs, police and RAB sources said.

After the big cities like Dhaka and Chattogram, the law enforcers have intensified the on-going anti-narcotics campaign in district towns, upazilas and unions, the sources added.

During the last 24 hours till Wednesday early hours, at least five suspected drug dealers were killed in ‘gunfights’ with law enforcers in Keraniganj, Kushtia, Natore and Luxmipur. 

As part of the ongoing anti-drug clampdown, Faridpur district police organised a rally in the town on Wednesday, showing red cards as a sign of warning to drug traders.

District police super Zakir Hossain inaugurated the rally in which policemen from all districts - from constable to officers - joined the rally.

 While delivering the inaugural speech, Zakir Hossain said no drug traders will be spared. So they are being warned showing red-cards.

The anti-drug campaign has entered its third month, with more than 170 suspected drug dealers killed and around 21,000 arrested since May 4.

Of them, 35 listed drug traders were killed in shootouts with RAB during the countrywide anti-drug crackdown.

Simultaneously, the RAB-run mobile courts sentenced over 5,000 drug dealers and drug addicts to various terms in prison.

Some police and RAB officers said they are trying hard to detain local drug dealers. 

“We’ve raided houses of almost all the listed drug dealers and peddlers but failed to nab any of them, as they went into hiding,” they added.

Local sources said many drug traders fled to Myanmar to avoid arrest. “We’re trying to trace them and they won’t be spared,” said the officers.

Civil society members have expressed their surprise at the failure of the law enforcers in this regard.

The government claims that the anti-drug campaign is being conducted to ‘save the country from the growing menace of drug use’.

Addressing the parliament on June 20, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her government will introduce anti-narcotics legislation that will include death penalty.

 She further said the ‘special drives’ against ‘drug-related criminals’ are based on ‘zero tolerance’.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told the journalists at different seminars and meetings that the anti-drug drive will continue until the problem is brought under control.

The RAB has arrested 153 people in a drive on the Stranded Pakistanis Relief Camp, popularly known as the Geneva Camp, in Dhaka’s Mohammadpur as part of the nationwide war on drugs.

Police have also arrested 52 people in similar operations on TT Parha slum at Kamalapur and Karail slum at Mohakhali.

RAB-2 commander Anwar Uz Zaman said mobile court handed 77 of the arrested people jail terms from three months to two years on Saturday.

The arrested people included four women and 36 listed drug peddlers, he added.

The list features a total of 90 suspects, he said.

Anwar said the RAB personnel detained over 500 people during the drive that started at 10:30am.

Around 350 people were released after questioning while 76 people were charged under the narcotics control law, who  would be produced before the court on Sunday, said the RAB official.

“None of the arrested people is top drug trader. We’re hunting for top drug dealers. Our detectives are also working in this regard,” Anwar said.

He said they recovered 13,000 yaba pills and 30 kg of marijuana from the Geneva Camp.

The RAB detectives, dog squad and RAB-2 personnel cordoned off the Geneva Camp area in the morning. Then they began searching the alleys.

The camp, where thousands of stranded Pakistanis (better known as Biharis) live, has turned into an alleged hub of drug trade.

RAB spokesman Mufti Mahmud Khan said, “We want to eradicate drug trafficking and expel those involved in the drug trade here.”

Anti-drug operations will be continued, he added.