If drug dealers do not leave the illicit trade on their own, only God knows what will happen to their fate, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan warned yesterday.
“In some places, drug traders have already surrendered due to pressure from law enforcement agencies. Those who are still defiant, law enforcers will take action against them,” the home minister said while attending a programme on International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking at Bangladesh Krishibid Institution (KBI) in Farmgate.
The minister’s remark came at a time when at least 390 people were killed in so-called gunfights during anti-narcotics drives by the government since May last year, raising concerns among human rights defenders.
As a part of the programme, more than a hundred drug traders have surrendered recently -- regretting their past activities -- in Cox’s Bazar, the gateway of smuggling yaba from Myanmar.
However, the drug trade continues.
“The government has promised to eradicate drugs from the country, and for that we are working on blocking the demand and supply and rehabilitation of drug abusers at the same time,” he said.
Asaduzzaman said they have strengthened vigilance of Border Guard Bangladesh and Coast Guard in the border areas to stop the supply of drugs.
He said the much talked about drug yaba is coming from Myanmar while cannabis, Phensedyl, heroine and injectable drugs are coming from India.
The home minister emphasised on initiating a social movement against drugs. He said the Department of Narcotics Control has organised 7,898 meetings at various educational institutions in the last one year and anti-drugs committees have also been created in more than 28,000 educational institutions.
Regarding the rehabilitation of drug abusers, he said the government has increased the number of seats at state-run drug rehabilitation centres.
Director General of Department of Narcotics Control Jamal Uddin Ahmed, Parliamentary Permanent Committee President Shamsul Haque Tuku, Home Ministry’s Security and Service Department Secretary Md Shahiduzzaman, and Dr Arup Ratan Chowdhury, among others, spoke at the programme.