Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday said that the police has been given complete “operational freedom” to deal with drug traffickers and dealers, and asked to “act decisively” to uproot the drug menace from the society. He said that increased action on snapping the drug supply and consumption chains throughout the Northeast has been underway in the last two years after Union Home Minister Amit Shah issued specific directions to DGPs of the states in the region regarding the issue.
Speaking at a seized drug disposal event in Golaghat, Sarma, “I want to give this clear message to the drug dealers that as the chief minister, I have given full freedom to the police to take toughest actions as allowed by law against this crime.” “The Assam Police will set its own boundaries and fulfill its responsibilities. After getting this operational freedom, police has been more relentless in its pursuit against the drug dealers,” he said. At another similar event in Diphu, the chief minister said that the police has been given operational freedom to act firmly and decisively within the law to uproot the illegal trade.
Sarma said that when Shah visited Assam two years ago, he had held deliberations with the director generals of police (DGPs) of the northeastern states on ways to cut drug supply lines. Action against drug trafficking across the region has accelerated after that meeting, he said, adding that “strong intelligence network and cultivating sources” were absolutely necessary to deal with it as “people inside the government” are also involved in these rackets due to the lure of easy money.
He claimed that many insurgent outfits were using drug-addicted youths as their cadre, though the ULFA was not among such groups. The chief minister said that questions raised by some MLAs in the assembly over the shooting of drug dealers while they were trying to flee police custody are “misplaced” as any leniency that could lead to the escape of even one drug dealer would spell doom for more youths of the state.
He maintained that the police personnel were acting within the powers vested on them by law. Sarma said he has urged the police to use the toughest laws to curb the drug menace as it is destroying the social fabric of the state and pushing an entire generation into darkness.
Speaking to reporters in Diphu, the chief minister said that drugs worth Rs 163 crore have been seized and 1,493 people arrested since his government assumed office two months ago. The seized contraband includes 19 kg of heroin, 8,276 kg of ganja, 14 kg of opium, 67,650 cough syrup bottles, and 1,920 kg of morphine.
At Golaghat, 1.02 kg of heroin, 1,200 kg of ganja and 3 kg of opium were burnt in a pyre lit by the chief minister. In Diphu, 11.88 kg of morphine, 2.89 kg of crystal meth, 3.47 kg of heroin, and 102.91 kg of cannabis were destroyed.
Similar drug disposal programmes are scheduled to be held in Nagaon and Hojai districts on Sunday.
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