Realising that several of the accused in the recent crimes reported in the city are drug addicts, the Mumbai police and the Government Railway Police (GRP) have initiated a crackdown on them.
However, officials admit that they don’t have the requisite medical infrastructure to treat addicts or handle their withdrawal symptoms.
Following the gangrape of a photojournalist at Mahalaxmi’s Shakti Mill on August 22, the police have arrested at least 400 drug addicts.
Similarly, following the assault of an American national in a local train on August 18, the GRP have rounded up at least 150 addicts.
Satya Narayan Chaudhary, deputy commissioner of police (detection) and spokesperson of the city’s police force, said the police had been actively taking action against addicts with help from the Anti-Narcotics Cell.
“But it is difficult to handle these men as they tend to get violent because of withdrawal symptoms. They are weak, cannot tolerate cold and have several health issues,” he said.
Despite the arrests, it is difficult to check the problem as the men are let off immediately after on bail, officials admitted.
The addicts are booked under section 27 of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, which provides that persons found to have illegal possession of drugs in a small quantity can get up to six months’ imprisonment or fine or both.
However, the court is empowered to release him so they can get de-addiction treatment
“Addicts, as per law, are treated as victims and not as accused Instead of rounding up these men, the police need to focus more on the peddlers, the source of this menace,” said YP Singh former IPS officer and now a lawyer.
“We have a database of peddlers and are trying to deal with the problem at its root,” said Chaudhary.