Over 100 listed yaba traders based in Teknaf upazila of Cox’s Bazar district are going to surrender to the local police administration on Saturday.
Of them, 10 are local elected representatives, 35 top listed godfathers and the rest listed dealers. They are accused in three to 16 cases each, district police sources said.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, Home Secretary Mustafa Kamal Uddin and Inspector general of Police (IGP) Javed Patwary are scheduled to attend the programme to be held on the playground of Teknaf Pilot High School at 10am on Saturday, Cox’s Bazar Superintendent of Police (SP) ABM Masud said.
A big stage has been set up and a seating arrangement made for 5,000 people. On the left side of the stage, a space of about 20ft by 20ft has been kept for those surrendering today.
The illegal traders, who went into hiding in the face of massive anti-narcotics crackdown by law enforcement agencies, have reappeared and assembled under the ‘safe custody’ of police to surrender, police headquarters sources said.
The 100 traders, who are mostly from Teknaf upazila of the district, have expressed their desire to return to normal life after surrender.
Besides, many other illegal traders are communicating with police through different channels to surrender, the sources said.
As part of the surrender programme, local police administration is taking a massive preparation, AKM Kamrul Ahsan, senior information officer at police headquarters said.
The drug smugglers will be welcomed to normal life through the programme which will also inspire other Yaba traders or traffickers to follow their paths, he added.
The pill, which is made in combination of methamphetamine and caffeine, is mostly smuggled into the country through different channels of southeastern Cox’s Bazar district which shares its borders with Myanmar, the main yaba manufacturing country in the region.
The illegal traders, who will surrender, will be given necessary supports to return to normal life. Cases will be filed against those who will not surrender, the sources also said.
At least 51 yaba smugglers have so far been killed in so-called ‘shootouts’ with law enforcers and internal conflicts in Cox’s Bazar since the start of the anti-narcotics crackdown by law-enforcing agencies in the May last year. But the illegal trade could not be fully controlled despite much effort.
In such a situation, the government began discussing the possibility of allowing yaba smugglers to surrender. The idea began to gain ground when a group of smugglers based in Cox’s Bazar contacted police seeking chance to surrender to the law enforcers.
Former lawmaker Abdur Rahman Bodi, who has long been accused of trading the illegal pill, has said in a meeting recently that anyone failing to surrender by deadline will have to face a dire consequence. “Now my wife Shahin Akhter is an elected MP and I do not want her to suffer the same humiliation. So I advise all illegal traders to surrender to the law enforcement agencies before the deadline,” Bodi also said.