Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday said that the state police in the past two months have seized narcotics worth Rs 170 crore which is about 20-30 per cent of the total worth of narcotics market in the state.
Assam Police had launched a “war against drugs” in mid May this year after being encouraged by the zero tolerance approach towards drugs by Sarma who took charge as state’s Chief Minister along with Home department last May 10.
“We have managed to recover narcotics worth Rs 170 crore in the past two months through proactive participation of our police department. This, however, is only 20-30 per cent of the state’s narcotics market. Which means, Assam has a narcotics market that is worth Rs 2000 crore to Rs 3000 crore,” Sarma told during a function at Golaghat in Upper Assam during which a massive amount of the seized narcotics has been destroyed publicly.
Assam has in the past two months seized 18.82 kg of heroin, 7944.72 kg of cannabis, 67,371 bottles of cough syrup, 12, 70,394 numbers of unprescribed sedating tablets, 1.93 kg of morphine, 3 kg of methamphetamine and 3313 kg of opium, a release by the Assam Police mentioned. Besides Golaghat, a substantial amount of these seized narcotics are being burnt in Diphu, district headquarters of Karbi Anglong in Assam’s southern hills.
Both Karbi Anglong and Golaghat, connected to Assam’s neighbouring state Nagaland, had been routes for narcotics to enter the state from neighbouring country Myanmar via Nagaland, for quite sometime.
“We were only aware that Assam was a transit route for narcotics from neighbouring countries to mainland India, but looking at the size of the narcotics market, we can say that this addiction has taken over several youths in Assam too,” Sarma said during the meeting.
According to police, atleast 834 drug related cases have been registered in the past two months in connection with which, 1424 persons have been arrested so far.
“There has been certain incidents of those involved in drugs trafficking cases of attempting to escape and police had to shoot on their legs. For these actions, our police has received certain criticism too. But, as being Assam’s CM, I give complete freedom to Assam Police to take sternest actions within the ambit of law while dealing with such criminals. Infact, I encourage them to take the strictest of the strict steps as given to them under the Code of Criminal Proceedure (CrPC),” Sarma has said.
In the past two months, a least 23 people have been shot at while in police custody of which five have dead. Most of these includes alleged drug peddlers or involved in drug cases while rest were allegedly involved in cattle-smuggling, rape, murder, dacoity etc. Odf the deceased, one was in connection with drug related case.