Bengaluru police have been waging a bitter war against ganja, but if they move fast, their opponents appear to be quicker, driven by an ever-growing demand for recreational drugs. Marijuana use is rampant among the youth, especially in colleges, with students turning dealers, making it harder for police to track the supply chain. Police are relentless in their pursuit of the sale of hard drugs like cocaine and heroin, as well as drugs like marijuana, and also use soft tactics like holding awareness programmes educational institutions. Many college students in the city live away from home and the protection of family, and, unable to handle feelings of inferiority or performance anxiety, turn to drugs, say experts. Addiction is a serious problem and those who suffer from it need time, affection and professional help. M.K. Ashoka reports.
The city police is waging a war against the ganja menace in the city, but it has a tough job on its hands as the mafia has made inroads into most schools and colleges, especially those which have a large number of foreign students.
So entrenched is it that it has turned some student customers into sellers, according to the police. Faced with a problem of mammoth proportions, the department has adopted a multi-pronged approach to deal with it. While on the one hand it is tracking down the peddlars and seizing the drugs both within the city and on its outskirts to stop it from reaching it , on the other, it has turned the police stations into counselling centres for students caught in the web of drugs and their parents.
Students in paying guest accommodations across the city are especially vulnerable to ganja addiction as unlike hostels, they are not under surveillance and provide the peddlars all freedom to contact them, going by the police.
“It usually starts with smoking and then gradually, the boys and girls come in contact with weed. As they start using it, they become addicted to it,” explained one officer, adding that the myth among young boys and girls that if they smoked weed, they would remain slim and not put on weight, encouraged them to use it even more.
After some concerted effort, the Central Crime Branch (CCB) and the city police, have managed to make some headway in reaching out to the students and their sources. Some former addicts among the students are now even helping the police track down the drug mafia.
Joint commissioner of police (crime), Sandeep Patil, says that over the last two months 400 to 500 kilograms of ganja that were on their way to the city from various sources in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were seized even before they could reach Bengaluru.
“We have made it our top priority and are relentlessly pursuing the sale of drugs like cocaine, heroin and ganja as they affect the young the most. Raids have been conducted in areas around schools and colleges where ganja is sold. Also, over 10 pubs have been raided in the recent past as they had become centres of ganja and drug distribution,” he revealed, adding that drug peddlers were being booked under the Goonda Act and would invite strong action.
“There are some peddlers, who get ganja in bulk and distribute it in small packets to school and college students. They too have been arrested in large numbers,” he said.
Most importantly, awareness campaigns are being carried among parents, students and teachers. “Students are told how bad ganja is for their health and future are as they don’t really know this and start using it under peer pressure,” Mr Patil elaborated.
The north division police, which took 37 people into the custody for selling ganja and lodged 28 cases against them six days ago, has been laying emphasis on counselling in stations with DCP North, Shashikumar keen on fighting the menace. Besides the inspectors, the subdivision’s ACPs are also attending and monitoring the counselling for ganja addicts.