Mizoram’s largest community-based organisation has re-activated its anti-narcotics unit, with the first round-up of addicts and peddlers apprehending at least two score people and seizing about Rs 6000 worth of heroin in the course of one morning’s patrol through a handful of the state capital’s central commercial neighbourhoods.
Dozens of suspected addicts and small-time peddlers, mostly of heroin, sat and waited in plastic chairs Saturday afternoon at the Young Mizo Association’s (YMA) headquarters for community leaders from their respective localities to pick them up and take them home.
Most were teenagers and young adults in shorts and slippers, among them a young woman who insisted on cradling a kitten in a length of cloth fastened across her back.
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The Supply Reduction Service (SRS) of 36 volunteers began combing through the Aizawl neighbourhoods at 5.30 am on Saturday.
By mid-day they had rounded up at least 40 people, who were asked to sign sheets of paper detailing their names and addresses and whether they have ever been arrested for drugs-related charges.
Among them, said volunteer Roneihthanga, were a 16-year-old girl who said she ran away from home after her step-father raped her (her mother had died three years ago) and has been living without a proper address since, feeding her addiction through prostitution.
Another was a pregnant woman who volunteers said they caught while she was looking to buy some heroin from peddlers since her husband, who she said was also an addict, is away to cut wood (he is apparently a casual labourer).
Many among those rounded up could not give permanent addresses, and one volunteer said they found several sleeping in an abandoned tin-roofed building near the Aizawl District Court campus, its rooms littered with garbage and the windows shuttered with tarpaulin sheets.
A handful of those rounded up also said they were currently taking anti-retroviral treatments for HIV/AIDS or attending rehabilitation programs.