Though slavery was abolished long ago the world over, it seems it still exists in various forms, especially in the hinterland.
In a shocking incident, a couple in Bhabua, headquarters of Kaimur district in western Bihar, was found to have turned as many as 28 families into such drug addicts that they virtually ended up giving almost all their belongings to the devilish duo and would also religiously surrender to them all their wages they earned daily as labourers.
Besides, they would follow diktats of the couple 24x7x365.
These unbelievable facts came to the fore after a special police team arrested Shivaji Keshari and his wife Hiramuni from their house near Mahabir Sthan in the town.
The police also seized thousands of injections of "high dose morphine" and other opium-based drugs, which are all strictly banned and are supposed to be administered to someone only in the presence of an experienced medical practitioner. Incidentally, these drugs are life-saving ones and given only to critically injured persons.
"The Keshari couple controlled entire affairs of the 28 families whose members had been made drug addicts and living like their slaves after losing all their money and belongings to the duo," Kaimur SP Ratnamani Sanjeev said.
"After losing all their belongings to the couple, the addicts would work as daily wages labourers and give their wages to the couple for doses/shots of the banned drugs."
The SP said a special team under drug inspector Raja Prasad Singh and Town police SHO Mithilesh Kumar Jaiswal was constituted following a tipoff that a high-profile racket involving several white-collar persons and drug traders was operating in the area and selling the opium-based banned drugs to the addicts.
After weeklong efforts and some fine intelligence work, the team nabbed the Kesharis. The police were shocked to know that the duo had made 28 families "virtually their slaves" who danced to their tunes for a single dose/shot of the banned drugs.
The Keshris would call the addicts to their home or sometimes go to their houses to give them their daily doses. Besides, the couple had also several secret places where the addicts were called for the daily intakes.
"Several addicts had reached such a point of saturation that the injections had to be given in their private parts to enable them to do normal day-to-day work. Some were unable to attend even nature's call without taking such injections," the SP said.
"The seized vials of banned injections - Nandrolone Decanoate, Methylergometrine, Buprenorphine and Pheniaramine Meleate - can be sold only after procurement of a special licence and after paying excise duty and not by any general medical store," he said.
"Several of the seized vials were well past their expiry dates and could have claimed the life of the addicts."
"It is also a humanitarian issue and I have consulted the civil surgeon and asked him to establish a drug de-addiction centre to cure the addict families so that they can lead a normal life once again. Civil surgeon Dr RB Singh has promised to make the centre functional from Tuesday itself," said the SP.
"Important information about the white-collar people and drug dealers facilitating and patronising the racket has been revealed by the arrested couple and the police have laid traps for their arrest," he added.