In the wake of countrywide massive anti-narcotics crackdown by law enforcers, drug lords in Cox’s Bazaar are going to surrender to the authorities and return to normal life thereafter.
As part of the move, many listed yaba smugglers who went into hiding have reportedly started coming out of their hideouts and thronging Cox’s Bazaar to surrender, police sources have said.
In response to the call for surrender, an identified drug trafficker Enamul Huq, also a union parishad councilor in Cox’s Bazaar has already surrendered to law enforcers, announcing his intention to do so earlier through social media site Facebook.
There are reports that like Enamul more than a hundred is following suit and has assembled in Cox’s Bazaar to seek ‘security in custody’.
The methamphetamine-based yaba pills are mostly smuggled through Cox’s Bazaar, the southeastern district that shares borders with Myanmar.
Of those listed as yaba traders by the police, 1,151 are based in Cox’s Bazaar. Of them, 73 are identified as ‘top yaba bosses’.
These men are mostly from Teknaf, a sub-district in Cox’s Bazaar.
At least 51 yaba smugglers have so far been killed in the so-called ‘shootouts’ with law enforcers and internal conflicts in Cox’s Bazaar since the start of anti-narcotics crackdown by the law-enforcement agencies.
While talking to journalists at his secretariat on Friday, home boss Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said the listed yaba traders of Cox’s Bazaar would surrender at the end of this month (January) and they are ready to do so.
“There will be cases filed if they don’t return to normal life,” the minister said when asked about the possible conditions of their surrender.
“We will look into their cases if they do not come back to normal life.”
Deaths of suspected drug dealers in ‘shootouts’ with law enforcers including police and RAB continue to be reported from across Bangladesh since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued directive for anti-drug operation in May last year.
But the activities of drug dealer proved difficult to restrain since smuggling of deadly yaba into the country from neighbouring Myanmar is yet to stop.
In such a situation, the government then began discussing the possibility of allowing yaba smugglers to surrender. The idea began to gain ground when a group of yaba smugglers based in Cox’s Bazaar contacted police, saying they wanted to surrender.
Cox’s Bazar Police Superintendent ABM Masud Hossain told journalists that “Police have made contact with several yaba traders. They want to surrender voluntarily. The matter is being discussed at the top level of administration."
On January 10, former Teknaf Awami League lawmaker Abdur Rahman Bodi gave the identified and listed yaba traders a five-day ultimatum to surrender.
Speaking at a meeting with the party activists along with his wife Shahin Akhter, the newly-elected lawmaker for Cox’s Bazaar-4, Bodi promised that those (Drug Dealers) who won’t surrender by the declared deadline have to face terrible consequences.
Bodi himself has for long allegedly been accused of being involved in smuggling methamphetamine tablets.
He said: “I have been given a bad name even though I have never been involved in the yaba trade.”
“Now my wife Shahin Akhter is an elected lawmaker and I do not want her to suffer the same ignominy. So I am calling on all marked and listed yaba smugglers to surrender to the authorities.”