Fr Carlos Luis
Despite the Goa Police’s zero-tolerance policy towards drugs, we know that 92 kg of narcotics have been seized during the last six months, amounting to the value of Rs 2 crores. Drugs like Ganja, Charas, LSD, MDMA, cocaine, heroin and cannabis have made their way to Goa, and we continue to blame foreigners for their supply to our state.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant clearly stated that he gives the police "the full freedom to destroy the entire chain of the drugs trade in Goa", and they should not hesitate to demolish nightclubs involved in drug trafficking.
Firstly, for the ANC to be able to strategise effectively, the government should strengthen its institutions, starting with the Directorate of Health Services, which is responsible for health treatment and the rehabilitation of drug addicts.
The education system is an area that needs reinforcement too. After the pandemic, we are slowly moving into a lull or experiencing lifestyle fatigue or emotional exhaustion. This state of fight, flight or freeze should be addressed with immediate concern, something that can be best done at schools, colleges and higher education institutions.
Conducting an awareness programme for the populace, addressing these issues, could be beneficial because people are not always aware of the ill-effects of illicit drugs. The police together with the Directorate of Education and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare should work towards creating this awareness.
The ANC should also focus on the promotion of human rights and the reduction of impunity and inequality in the state. We should learn to cooperate and coordinate with the neighbouring state police force to enforce the law and prevent drug trafficking and abuse.
We have many state and central agencies presently working in isolation. These should come together to share intelligence. This would help nab big-time smugglers through small-scale distributors. Our state’s history with drug trafficking makes uncovering the issue a highly urgent one, a task that is most difficult.
It takes years of police personnel training in the enforcement of anti-narcotics laws. The police organisations should be especially skilled in investigative techniques and briefly informed on case laws so that the collection of evidence for conviction becomes unassailable.
Prior planning, intelligence collection, and serious and authentic personal efforts to bust existing crime syndicates are vital. Drug trafficking has been a menace in Goa for a long time and can be rooted out of the state by its responsible citizens and assisting government agencies.
(The writer is a priest belonging to the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottine) and currently the Mission Secretary of the ABVM Province, Bangalore. He comments on Literature and Films that mirror life)