Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma burned seized contraband worth nearly ₹163 crore to propagate a message of zero-tolerance against illegal drugs.
The drugs were burnt at Diphu, Golaghat, Barhampur, and Hajoi in central Assam. The steps are a part of the newly-formed government's ongoing campaign against the illegal drug trade menace in the state.
According to a Hindustan Times report, Sharma expressed his concern over illicit drug trading by claiming that it is an epidemic and those involved in the same must be punished stringently. He also added that it affects the youth, destroys their families, and gives rise to other social evils.
After assuming office, Biswa said that they had a three-level action plan to help those addicted to illegal drugs and their families. The first measure was to put an end to the supply of drugs to the state, the second was to end its circulation, and the third was to rehabilitate those affected by its abuse.
Making Headway To Abolish Drug Smuggling
Sarma said that between May 10 and July 15, the state police registered 874 cases under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and arrested 1,493 drug dealers across the state, and seized nearly ₹163.58 crore worth of the contraband, according to the Chief Minister's tweet.
He also stated that if one assumes the seized drug stood at 10 per cent of the total quantity smuggled into Assam, then the trade in illegal drugs in the state would be worth ₹5,000 crore annually.
Complete Operational Freedom Is Given To Cops
Since Sarma took over in May, at least 23 people — many of whom were alleged drug peddlers, cattle smugglers and dacoits — have been shot at while in police custody, with five dead.
While the Opposition has criticised the firings, Sarma reiterated that he has given the police "full operational freedom" to take the "toughest of actions" within the ambit of the law to deal with criminals according to the Indian Express.
Speaking at a seized drug disposal event in Golaghat, Sarma said, "I want to give this clear message to the drug dealers that as the chief minister, I have given full freedom to the police to take toughest actions as allowed by law against this crime."
Also Read: Assam To Create New Department For Indigenous Faith And Culture