HIGHLIGHTS Nagawara asks DCP (East) to tackle drug menace Residents break convention and discuss action against drug peddlers in the locality during a ward committee meeting which usually sees complaints about bijli, sadak, paani By Y Maheswara Reddy Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) ward committee meetings are rare. When they do happen, the agenda is to discuss civic issues such as pothole-ridden roads, irregular water supply, garbage and debris which has not been picked up and unscheduled power outages. However, at Saturday’s ward committee meeting, residents of Nagawara ward dedicated the meeting to discuss the drug menace that is rampant in their locality. They wanted tough action to be taken against drug peddlers who have become a menace to the school and college children in the area. The drug menace in Bengaluru is as grave as is its problems of garbage, traffic and water shortage. Two years ago, G Parameshwara, the then Home Minister had said that intelligence reports say that drug peddling was high around educational institutions. He had asked police to increase patrolling around schools and nab drug peddlers. After coming to know about how Bangalore East Deputy Commissioner of Police Rahul Kumar successfully dealt with the drug mafia in DJ Halli Police Station limits and the many awareness programmes the policemen organised, the Nagawara residents wanted to share their grievances with DCP Kumar and hope for a solution to the drug menace in the ward. Policemen alone cannot end this menace without residents’ support. I am confident of making Nagawara ward free from drug menace within a month — Rahul Kumar, DCP (Bangalore East) Around 300 residents, including women, attended the ward committee meeting to pour out their grievances. Speaking about how the drug problem was tackled in DJ Halli, DCP Kumar said, “We divided DJ Halli into 10 parts and assigned one police inspector for each area to create awareness among the public on the ill-effects of the drugs. The police inspectors used to interact with the residents for one-and-half hours every day as per their convenience. The programme was a big success,’’ says DCP Rahul Kumar. The residents of Govindapura in Nagawara ward told the DCP that drug peddlers wait openly at cross roads, scouting for prospective customers, mostly young people and students, to sell drugs. “I have seen drug peddlers trying to sell drugs near an Anganwadi centre on 10th Cross in Govindapura. I have helped a mother get her drug addict son released from a police station. After his release, the boy ran away from home. Now, the mother is in tears waiting for her son to return home,’’ says Mohammed Mastan, a resident of 11th Cross, Govindapura. . Khaleem Pasha, the coordinator of Nagawara ward committee meeting adds, “It is quite shocking to see high school students falling victims to drug abuse in this locality. We have been complaining to the KG Halli police against the drug peddlers but in vain. The police took the drug peddlers to the police station but let them off the latter.” “I have been receiving threatening calls from the drug peddlers because I informed the police about their activities, but I am not worried about them since I want to save the youth from the drug peddlers. I want the police officers to take action against their subordinates for letting the drug peddlers walk free after taking bribes from them,’’ says Pasha. The residents say that marijuana is freely sold near schools and colleges. Youth, under the influence of this substance, behave irrationally and often fight among themselves. “A murder took place in this locality eight days ago over cigarettes. A similar incident took place last year near the railway track,’’ says a resident on condition of anonymity. Now, some residents have come forward to create awareness against drug peddlers in the area. They want all the petty shops to close by 8 pm or 9 pm since these shops are the main source for drugs. . “We are visiting residents to make them aware about the ill effects of drug abuse and the consequences they will suffer if they fail to keep an eye on their children,’’ says Pasha. The residents are pinning hopes on DCP Kumar to deal firmly with the drug peddlers. “I want to appreciate DCP Rahul Kumar for attending the ward committee meeting. The DCP has assured us of tough action against anti-social elements within the next 15 days,’’ says Nagawara Residential Welfare Association general secretary Mohammed Ibrahim. DCP Rahul Kumar has said that he was very happy with the residents’ support to fight against drug peddlers. “Policemen alone cannot end this menace without residents’ support. I am confident of making Govindapura and other areas in Nagawara ward free from drug menace within a month,’’ says the DCP. Meanwhile, though the KG Halli Circle Police Inspector Edwin Pradeep has said that police are all set to create awareness among the public about the ill effects of drugs, he refused to give details of the number of complaints received against drug peddlers. When questioned further, he told this reporter to contact the DCP. RELATED NEWS