STF sounds alarm over African students working as drug couriers in Punjab
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STF sounds alarm over African students working as drug couriers in Punjab

The STF even named two large private universities, one situated near Chandigarh and the other in the Doaba region and demanded more surveillance to check the activities on their campuses.

punjab Updated: Jul 29, 2018 10:05 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
African students,drug,Punjab
The Punjab Police’s anti-drug special task force (STF) has raised the alarm over increasing drug-related activities of African students in the state’s educational institutions.(HT File )

The Punjab Police’s anti-drug special task force (STF) has raised the alarm over increasing drug-related activities of African students in the state’s educational institutions and sounded the government on the issue.

The STF has prepared a detailed report and held a detailed discussion on the same with the special working group (SWG) formed by chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh to review the drug problem in the state on a weekly basis, it has been learnt.

The document was shared by an inspector general of police (IGP)-rank officer with SWG in the second week of July in a meeting chaired by the CM. The officer representing STF cited intelligence inputs and rise in seizures from the foreign students, most of them Africans, in Punjab.

“The supply route of the synthetic drugs in Punjab has changed in the past three years. Earlier, the border with Pakistan used to be the only route for supply of heroin. Now, heroin and other synthetic drugs are being supplied from the national capital with smugglers are using African students for peddling the contraband,” the STF officer observed.

The CM had directed the police to take immediate steps to increase surveillance on such activities. The STF even named two large private universities — one situated near Chandigarh and the other in the Doaba region — and demanded more surveillance to check the activities on their campuses.

However, on the intervention of Suresh Kumar, chief principal secretary to CM, it was decided not to name these universities in any communication regarding drugs as “it will unnecessary tarnish their image”, sources said.

According to the data obtained from the Punjab Police’s intelligence wing, as many as 118 African students have been arrested since 2014 in the state for supplying drugs.

Around 600-700 African students get admission to private educational institutions in Punjab every year. Various case studies analysed by STF have revealed that an equal number of women students are being used for peddling drugs.

“These students living in India have formed groups on social media. In many cases, it has been seen that conduits start living with these students and they get them into drug trade,” said an additional inspector general (AIG)-rank officer.

A senior intelligence wing official, who did not want to be named, said following the CM’s instructions, all intelligence units in the districts have been asked to conduct a detailed survey of activities of African students in Punjab.

“We do not intend to unnecessarily hassle these students or create any panic. The genuine students need not to worry. We are also asking the private institutes to help us by giving information about foreign students,” said the official.

Seizures from Africans in Punjab this year

Jan 1, 2018: A South African national, Gift Monger, arrested in Jalandhar with 800gm heroin and opium. He was a former student at a local college.

Jan 4: Ugandan woman Rogget Namotabi arrested in Jalandhar with 1.5 kg heroin. Working as a conduit for a Delhi-based racket, she concealed heroin in dead fish.

May 17: Two Nigerian nationals living in Delhi held for supplying drugs in Punjab. 2kg heroin was recovered from two places on their tip-off.

June 4: A Nigerian national, Chinedu, held with 1kg heroin in Jalandhar. He was illegally living in India and was in touch with African students in the Doaba region.

July 22: Ugandan woman Rubia arrested in Amritsar with 1kg heroin brought from Delhi. She was a regular conduit for heroin supply.

First Published: Jul 29, 2018 10:05 IST