Alarmed at the rising number of drug-peddlers, residents of Mahim in central Mumbai have initiated what they call a “jihad against junkies”. Residents have even pressurised the police to conduct raids even as a night-patrolling plan continues, manned by citizen-volunteers.
In the hours after dusk, residents along Cadell Road and around the railway station are often seen with torchlights and lathis, roaming the streets. Even women and children in the locality now report of any addicts or suspicious activity to the police.
“Two to three years ago, the area had hundreds of ‘junkies’ who openly gathered at street corners, where they consumed as well as sold drugs. Residents were worried that Mahim had become a haven for drug-peddlers and wanted to address the issue at the earliest before their children fell into their traps. That is when the campaign began,” said Irfan Macchiwala, a resident.
The campaign now covers Cadell Road, the station area, Mahim bus depot, the Reti Bunder beach front and roads outside Mahim Dargah and St Michael’s Church.
Residents credit the Pir Makhdoom Saheb Charitable Trust for the initiative, which has brought together about 100 volunteers who serve as a link between the citizens and police.
Managing trustee Suhail Khandwani said a lot still needs to be done. “The numbers have come down, but the objective was to eradicate the problem, which we are yet to achieve. We want to set an example by making Mahim drug-free,” he said.
A senior police officer at Mahim police station said the pace of raids had slowed this year but patrolling by the police as well as special squads, who keep peddlers at bay, continues. “Our team rushes to the spot as soon as we receive any information about these miscreants and nab them immediately,” the officer said.