For Government Railway Police personnel,who at times dread even going near the young boys during hours of questioning,they are just young men who are unpredictable and dangerous when they are in dire need of drugs,reports Priyal Dave
Post-midnight,on September 8,Malesh Chavan,26,was caught stealing a commuters cellphone at Dadar railway station. Around 1.15 am,it was his second theft that night after snitching another commuters wallet. It was his desperation for snuff that drove him,he later confessed.
On August 23,a 14-year-old drug addict flashed himself inside the second-class compartment of a local train at CST when commuters asked him to get off the compartment. The minor was handed over to railway police.
Reffered to as gardulas (chain smokers),drug addicts are frequent offenders in crimes such as theft or robbery across railway police stations,say GRP officers. Unlike the city police who have drug addicts on their records in select belts,GRP stations across the city frequently have drug addicts among offenders. They just want money to satiate their addiction. They can be dangerous when they are in dire need of drugs, said a police officer.
Officers say such offenders are also unpredictable while in custody,making them difficult to handle. Police also say they maintain a supply of drugs to keep addicts under control. Although it is illegal,there is no other immediate way to keep them safe, admitted a senior police officer. They become violent and start banging their heads on the iron bars of the cell door if we dont provide them with drugs. We give in to their demands as they can end up hurting or even killing themselves,says another police officerl.
Drug addicts caught by us are usually aged between 18 and 25. They sometimes refuse to eat food as they identify substance as their only meal, said a officer from Kurla GRP.
Most of them dont bathe for months. Their clothes reek of substance. There is concern among our constabulary as many of them have open wounds and suffer from diseases, said another GRP officer. In most such cases,the offenders are found with numerous cuts on their forearms and syringes,substance-stained clothes and empty bottles are often s recovred from them,said an officer.
Officers said most addicts prefer large,open and isolated places such as railway yards or mills where they can consume drugs and laze around without
The extent of their desperation can be seen in recent cases,in which addicts have hidden blades under their tongues. In one case,despite ensuring that all blades were confiscated,the suspect injured himself with an aluminum foil plate on which he was served lunch. Police officers who consult with psychiatrists on this behaviour say that this is done to derive pleasure because they cannot feel pain due to drug overuse. If nothing is available,a drug addict will run from one end inside the lock-up to the other and keep banging his head against the wall. In many cases,they have also resorted to eating lizards inside police lock ups,as the poisonous reptiles gives them a high similar to psychoactive toads,where people eat on the poison milked from the toads poisonous glands.