Mukesh Kumar Sahu, a native of the Korea district in Chhattisgarh, got addicted to substances and liquor when he was a student. He dropped out of studies, later his marital life got affected, and his parents started living separately because of his addiction. However, Sahu changed himself for good and is a changed person now.
He has not only overcome his addiction but also helped local police to arrest drug peddlers and motivates other addicts in his area to quit substances and liquor consumption. Like Sahu, many others in Korea have left addiction in the last six months, thanks to a campaign being run by local police against drugs and illegal liquor sales.
Launched in July 2021, the 'Nijaat' (riddance) drive has successfully curbed the smuggling of drugs and illegal liquor and persuaded many addicts to quit the habit and lead a normal life, Hindustan Times reported. As per police records, nearly 35 per cent of the crimes were associated with illicit drugs and liquor in the district. A large section of minors was found addicted to drugs, a significant concern for the law enforcement agencies.
So, in the quest to achieve a drug-free society, the district police aimed to wipe out illicit substances and bootlegging while preventing its smuggling or trading. The 'Nijaat' drive pursued a three-pronged strategy: stringent action against businesses of illegal drugs or narcotics, a spirited public awareness campaign, extending support in counselling and rehabilitation as a de-addiction engagement process, The New Indian Express reported.
"We succeeded in getting people's support in our campaign. They started informing us as we scaled up enforcement," said Korea SP Santosh Kumar Singh.
People's Drive Against Drug Abuse
Within six months, 'Nijaat' became a people's drive against drug abuse and trafficking. The mobilisation campaign included people's representatives and women at the grassroots level. "As the message percolated down, the youth too participated in it," the SP said. The campaign continued as per the directions given by CM Bhupesh Baghel to act and check the smuggling of drugs swiftly.
The drug-related crimes gradually decreased by around one-third in the district with more than 8 lakh population. In a six-month drive, police arrested 152 persons in cases related to drugs and narcotics, and 887 cases were registered in the illegal business of liquor and drugs. The Korea police, with the cooperation of the locals, have caught hold of 923 traffickers, paddlers and bootleggers.
The campaign saw wall paintings, youth rallies, bike and cycle rallies, hoardings and rangoli contests in its support. Local artists put together video and rap songs to publicise the drive. 'Mile Nijaat' - a song that became popular among the youths, one of the targeted segments. It is uploaded as mobile phone ringtones. "It was encouraging for us to find many people taking a pledge to volunteer against drug abuse. They prevented the youths from addiction," said Madhulika Singh.
Many film actors, renowned folk singers and opinion-makers too joined the campaign. Some illustrious names include Kailash Kher, Arbaaz Khan, Prabhu Deva, Shahwar Ali, Bhagwan Tiwari, Virendra Saxena, comedian Sunil Grover and Rajpal Yadav.