Saturday, 27 November, 2021
E-paper

Criminals they were, criminals they remain

More than a hundred drug peddlers from the Teknaf area had surrendered to law enforcement agencies. Without sending them to jails, they were given a chance to back to normal life and allowed to lead social life on promises that they would not be involved in the illegal business again. It was expected that they would remain true to their words but most of them failed to do so. The lead story of this daily yesterday informed us that about 70 per cent of them went back to their old criminal way of life, knowing fully well that by doing so they were inviting fresh crackdown.

Why did they do so despite the fact that ultimately they would not able to escape of hands of laws? One reason is that they were drug peddlers by choice; they chose the way out of greed for making quick bucks. Naturally, black took no other hue: Criminals they were, criminals they remained. Soft measures are not for them; they deserve to be dealt with an iron fist.

Another reason may be that, while allowing them to lead normal life upon their promises, steps for proper rehabilitation were not taken for the needy among them. So there may be a segment of the criminals who went back to their old business really out of need. Yet another cause may be that the yaba lords forced a section to do as they are ordered to.

Whatever be the truth, since these returnee peddlers are involved in a criminal offence, they deserve to be treated as offenders and punished severely. Old habits die hard; soft way of treatment is no longer the option for these diehards.

However, return to normal life or punishment of those who had surrendered will have little impact on the countrywide network of the criminals and the drug business. It is an open secret that, while all other business incurred loss of different degrees during the corona pandemic, only the drug business flourished. This means that hundreds and thousands of drug peddlers are engaged in the illicit business across the country. While those who returned to drug business should be awarded stringent punishment, concerted drives must be conducted against all drug lords and their accomplices.