Violence fomented by drug addiction on the rise in Kochi

Two recent drug-related murders in town; police plan to trace supply chain layers to trace source

Two recent drug-related murders in town; police plan to trace supply chain layers to trace source

Life has been far from normal for residents of a high-rise apartment complex in Edachira, near Thrikkakara, for almost a fortnight now.

On August 16, a body with multiple severe cuts was found wrapped in a sheet and pushed down a duct on the 16th floor, sending shockwaves through the area. The deceased has been identified as Sajeev Krishna, 23, from Malappuram, who was one of five youths residing in the flat.

Kochi city police tracked down the prime suspect, Arshad, from Manjeshwaram in Kasaragod. He was arrested with narcotic substances, including MDMA and hash oil, as he attempted to cross the border into Karnataka. It appeared that he had only been known to the victim for a fortnight and had been with her for even fewer days.

“He [Arshad] had checked in as a guest of another family in an apartment on the 20th floor. He had come across as a quiet guy, and there was no suggestion that he was capable of such a violent act. We are not allowing guests now as there is a feeling of fear among the residents. While newly married couples brought their parents along for company, elderly people living next door to the affected apartment hardly ever venture out,” said NA Jaleel, a resident of the apartment complex for a decade.

What was even more disconcerting was the fact that this was not an isolated incident but the third such murder in the city in less than a week, and two of them were linked drugs one way or another. A monetary transaction of ₹50,000, which police suspect to be drug-related, is said to have resulted in Krishna’s violent death. Police also suspect that the victim and suspect were drug addicts and that their apartment was a drug addiction center.

CH Nagaraju, District Police Chief (Kochi City), admitted that the increasing influx of drugs was perpetrating violent crime in the city, with law enforcement capturing only a fraction of the substances circulating. “Awareness is the only way to control the threat. We have prioritized working back up the layers of the supply chain to reach the source, although the use of the Dark Web and cryptocurrency by drug traffickers has made it difficult,” he said. he declares.

The stabbing to death of a man in Ernakulam North on the night of August 10 also had an undeniable drug connection. The accused, still at large, is a known drug addict, in addition to being a repeat offender. Three people arrested in connection with another similar murder under the South Bridge in the early hours of August 14 were believed to have been under the influence of alcohol.

Drug flows from abroad

The fact that a passenger was intercepted with 30 kg of mind-altering drugs worth around ₹60 crore at Kochi airport shortly after the spate of murders further underscored the threat of the dope. He had come from Zimbabwe via Doha, pointing to an alarming trend of drugs from abroad ending up in Kochi.

Previously, in five separate incidents in less than as many months, Excise officers seized 291 LSD stamps, 3,115.80 grams of MDMA and 9,881.90 grams of cocaine delivered by couriers from various destinations such as the Netherlands, Poland, the United States and Qatar. In all of these cases, orders were placed on the Dark Web and payments made via cryptocurrency, leaving excise officials paralyzed to take investigations to their logical conclusion.

Acknowledging that drugs lead to an increase in the crime rate, Ernakulam Deputy Excise Commissioner PV Aleyas was particularly concerned about the sudden increase in MDMA use. He said the high price tag attached to the drug added a status quotient to it, further increasing its demand.

“Troubles in Society”

“There is a general climate of frustration and restlessness in society, which facilitates the entry of drugs both in terms of reducing frustration and as a means of pleasure. Frustration breeds aggression and drugs reduce inhibitions in the resulting violence. Outreach initiatives are needed to identify young people prone to violence and equip them with frustration management. Our youth organizations are doing little to this end, even though the gender gap in substance abuse is rapidly closing,” said psychiatrist CJ John.

Mahitha Vipinachandran, a school counselor in the Department of Women and Child Development, said the vulnerability of young people to substance abuse seemed to have increased in the post-pandemic scenario. “Addiction robs them of an empathetic mind and reinforces their criminal streak. We have encountered young people who have lost control of their addiction and have even sold valuables to feed their addiction,” she said.

Safety in apartments

The murder in the apartment also drew attention to shortcomings in the security management apparatus in apartment complexes. Police had alleged a lack of accountability on the part of the apartment complex concerned and a lack of communication with police to alert them to unusual activity and the movement of strangers.

To address this shortcoming, the Kochi City Police considered a plan to assess apartment complexes in terms of security management. In addition, police have warned against invoking complicity charges against apartment complexes that fail to meet safety standards if an accident occurs on their premises.

VS Somanathan, General Secretary of All Kerala Flat Owners’ Association, claimed that a majority of flat associations are corrupt and as a result their instructions are often ignored. He called for the intervention of law enforcement to ensure that standard security standards were met.

He said there was no standard method of keeping entry logs at most apartment complexes, and security guards employed for negligible salaries often reduced record keeping and security. to a deception.

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