Punjab Drug Arrests: Copy-Paste FIRs Target Users, Not Drug Lords
A report shows that almost all FIRs filed against drug abuse victims in Punjab follow the same script.
According to a report by The Indian Express, almost all FIRs for arrests of drug-abuse victims describe the accused in the same manner. They were all found carrying drugs in pyjama or pant pockets, and sitting on a wall or behind a bush.
The FIRs, obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act from 14 police districts, describe the authorities conducting the arrests “as per a common script”.
In several instances, spread over a period of time in different areas, the FIR gives an identical account of arrests:
A young man seen approaching the naka (checkpost). On seeing the police, he turned and tried to escape.
Parts of an FIR from 3 January reads exactly the same as an FIR from 21 May, only the names of the two accused have been changed.
3 January: Kot Dharmu, Mansa: A young man was seen approaching the naka (checkpost) with a plastic bag. On seeing police, he turned and tried to escape.
21 May: Jhunir, Mansa: A young man was seen approaching the naka (checkpost) with a plastic bag. On seeing police, he turned and tried to escape.
The report cites several examples of identical FIRs and follows another report which pointed out how the authorities tend to target victims of substance abuse rather than the perpetrators like drug-lords or large-scale peddlers.
Shashi Kant, former Director General of Police (Prisons) believes that no “drug lord worth his name” is behind bars. Kant currently runs a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) named Nasha Virodhi Manch to help drug addicts in the state.
The investigative report claims that these arrests are made mostly to fill up numbers while drug-lords in the state remain free.
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