In Punjab, Peddlers are Spared and Addicts are Punished

Most of the arrested people were either small-time peddlers or addicts, not the suppliers.

1 min read
More than 17,000 arrests were made in 2014 alone, but no major drug lord has been arrested yet. (Photo: iStockphoto)

In Punjab, most of the arrests related to drug crimes have been of small-time peddlers and addicts, and no big drug lord has been put behind bars, reports The Indian Express. The investigative report claims that these arrests are made to mostly fill up numbers while drug lords in the state remain free.

At least 2,555 out of the 6,028 arrests – or 42.4 percent – were for possession of 5 gms or less of heroin, 100 gms or less of intoxicant powder, 50 gms or less of opium, 1 kg or less of poppy husk, and 100 or less capsules or tablets.

After a crackdown announced by Home Minister and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal in May 2014, the police have arrested 17,068 in 2014 and 11,593 more in December 2015.

Shashi Kant, former Director General of Police (Prisons), believes that no “drug lord worth his name” is behind bars. Kant now runs an Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) named Nasha Virodhi Manch to help drug addicts in the state.

The crackdown was absolutely flawed and done to make up the numbers. It took place without any foresight and planning. Addiction is a sickness like any other disease and there is no point in putting addicts behind bars.
Shashi Kant, former DGP (Prisons) to The Indian Express

Perhaps these largely ineffectual arrests hinder Punjab’s war on drugs, much like   censorship of the movie Udta Punjab does.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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