Large volumes of yaba have been pouring into the country via Teknaf, and the anti-narcotics drive in that area is said to have lost its teeth since the death of Maj (retd) Sinha in police firing on July 31. Seizures of the pink pills declined by almost half in the months of August and September compared to that in the two months before the Sinha killing. According to a report in this daily, this slump is a combined result of police transfers—an entire batch of Cox’s Bazar district police, including the superintendent of police, was replaced—and frustrations in the local police force for “taking the blame”.
While the anonymous police officials who spoke to The Daily Star are right to point out that many members of other forces and agencies dealing with narcotics in Teknaf have also made financial gains from the illegal trade, it is not possible to brush aside the floodgate of allegations against the police force that have surfaced in the wake of the Sinha killing either. The frustrations felt by subordinate officers, while they may be genuine, seem like little cause for failing to do their duty—the volume of the drug trade is currently so high that yaba prices have dropped significantly, not just in Teknaf and surrounding areas, but in the capital as well.
It is of great concern when the local police, who have in the past been behind the seizures of large consignments of yaba in Cox’s Bazar and Chattogram, fail to recover any drugs in August and September, when in the same period, Rab officials are able to discover and confiscate significant consignments of yaba in the same areas. In fact, the DS report detailed that no policemen were even seen at the four entry checkpoints in Chattogram city for around 20 days from August 1, and that no anti-drugs activities by police were noticed in Cox’s Bazaar since August. What does this say about the sincerity of our police officials, and how will this indifferent attitude help to salvage the bad reputation that the police have earned after the extrajudicial killing of Sinha?
Our police force must remember that their responsibility is to serve the people of Bangladesh, not to serve their own interests. We urge them to not shun their responsibilities, since confiscating drugs at the point of entry are a crucial part of stopping this trade. At the same time, the government also must take a more holistic approach to the scourge of drugs in Bangladesh, and ensure that the trade of drugs, and the finance behind it, are cut off at the source.