Mumbai: Tired of waiting for cops, Cheetah Camp residents hunt down drug peddlers
Trombay locals go on war footing to put an end to drug menace in their neighbourhood
Residents of Cheetah Camp are making quick work of drug dens in their locality, having busted more than 30 such rackets in just the last two months of their campaign to end addiction in the Trombay neighbourhood. On Monday, the locals caught yet another peddler — an elderly woman — who was selling heroin at her home. The locals handed over the accused, Chinnamman Pillai, to the police.
The locals banded together under the Masiha Foundation to curb addiction among youngsters in the area. The team is usually led by social activist Amdu Shaikh while carrying out random checks. It was during such an operation that they caught Pillai. She had carved out a gap in her iron grille door, where addicts would slip in their payment and collect drugs.
"We informed the Trombay police who rushed a team at the spot and arrested her," said Shaikh. "She had thrown the drugs in the bathroom, but we spotted the plastic bag containing the heroin behind a drum. She had also roped her daughter into the business," he added. Prakash Salvi, senior PI at Trombay police station, said, "We have arrested the accused and seized 18 grams of heroin, worth Rs 1.4 lakh."
Locals have banded together to hunt down all drug dens
"The police are not active, due of which we had to start chasing the peddlers," said a resident. Since they started their campaign in December, the locals have busted more than 30 drug dens. While the peddlers are usually too alert to nab, the group has rounded up several addicts, handing over 25 of them to the police for rehabilitation. According to Shaikh, several dealers have quit the business due to the fear of getting caught. Senior PI Salvi said, "We regularly conduct raids and take action when we learn about instances of drug peddling."
The group also helps the addicts by sending them to deaddiction centres. Their work has received tremendous response from the community, with many contributing funds to keep the intiative going. "We are using the funds to rehabilitate these people by giving them a source of income to keep them busy." Vazir Khan, secretary of Masiha Foundation, said, "We have sent five people to rehab in Lonavla, but two of them escaped after two days. Now they are threatening their family with dire consequences if anyone forces them back into rehab."
Heroin seized from accused on Monday
Rs 1.4 lakh
Value of seized heroin
No. of drug dens they have busted
No. of addicts caught since December
Reformed and remorseful
'I used to steal money from my father for drugs. I am thankful to the activists who helped me in rehab. Now I am focused on my future'
'I used to spend my entire allowance on drugs, and sometimes even borrowed money from my friends'
'I used to sell iron or any scraps I found in the street or in the garbage for money. I would fight with my parents for drug money. Even my friends started avoiding me'
'I consumed drugs like water. My studies were getting affected by my addiction'
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