Indian home minister G Parameshwara on Thursday once again courted controversy by saying the menace of illegal and contraband drugs in the state of Karnataka can be attributed to African nationals who have come to India to peddle drugs.
In 2014, the United Nations Office on Drug & Crime or UNODC, in its latest report has confirmed India leads the path of drug trafficking. Proximity to the largest producers of heroin and hashish are the Golden Triangle and Golden Crescent (Afghanistan-Pakistan-Iran) that which has made India’s border vulnerable to drug trafficking.
Indigenous production of low grade heroin as well as various psychotropic, prescription drugs the growing demand in neighbouring countries and international market have added a new dimension to the problem of drug trafficking.
Trends and patterns of drug trafficking in the country demonstrate that there is a gradual shift from traditional/natural drugs towards synthetic drugs that are being trafficked. Trafficking of drugs takes place overwhelmingly through land borders followed by sea and air routes.
At the legislative council, responding to a question by MP Ganesh Karnik (BJP), Parameshwara said: “The issue of illegal drugs consumption is quite serious. Over the last few years the drug peddling has grown by a large majority due to more number of African nationals coming to the state and entering the illegal trade.”
Parameshwara said a large number of cases have been identified in educational hubs, quoting official figures the maximum number of drug related cases have been registered in Mangaluru (239) and Bengaluru (128).
The home minister said the police force in the state are going to embark on a special drive to remove the deep rooted menace of drug trade in the region.
With regard to creating awareness, Parameshwara said the DCPs in each jurisdiction have been asked to personally take charge of going to educational institutions and talking to students in these colleges and schools. With regard to online sales of illegal drugs to students, Parameshwara said the cyber crime division of the police force is tackling the issue.
Given the vulnerability of the borders to drug trafficking, India has tried to tackle the problem through the strategy of drug supply and demand reduction, which involves enacting laws, co-operating with voluntary organizations, securing its borders and coasts by increasing surveillance, as well as seeking the active cooperation of its neighbours and the international community.