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Drug dealers prefer jail to death amidst ongoing crackdowns

  • Published at 01:01 am June 4th, 2018
With over a hundred drug peddlers and dealers killed in ‘gunfights’ in the past few weeks, criminals dealing with narcotics are now opting to surrender to the law out of fear of the alternativeSyed Zakir Hossain
With over a hundred drug peddlers and dealers killed in ‘gunfights’ in the past few weeks, criminals dealing with narcotics are now opting to surrender to the law out of fear of the alternative Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The drives have apparently spread panic among drug dealers

Drug dealers seem to prefer staying in jail for their own ‘safety’ since law enforcement is continuing an all out anti-drug crusade that has already left more than a hundred men killed, drawing ever more blood every day since mid May.

Lawyers say they have witnessed a number of incidents which surprised them, where their clients behind bars are not asking them to move bail petitions. There are also incidents where drug dealers accused in cases are surrendering before the court to get into jail.

On May 27, Md Nuruzzaman, an alleged drug dealer of the city’s Gendaria, surrendered before a Dhaka court. His lawyer did not place strong arguments for his client’s bail and the accused was happy when the court sent him to jail.

Nuruzzaman slipped away from law enforcement at Begumganj Lane in Gendaria on March 6 during a raid by a Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) team. 

The team detained him with phensedyl and yaba tablets, but his associates snatched him away after assaulting the team members.

Law enforcement could not trace the gang in the last two and a half months.   

Mujibur Rahman, sub-inspector of DNC’s Sutrapur Circle, said they had been conducting raids with the help of Sutrapur police to arrest Nuruzzaman, but failed.

“I did not know that he surrendered. I am surprised. Perhaps Nuruzzaman feared for his life,” he said.

Mujibur was one of the team members during the raid in March. Recalling the incident, he said they caught Nuruzzaman with drugs acting on a tip-off. 

“On our way back, around 10-12 men armed with sticks and iron pipes swooped on us.” 

He said two members of the team sustained injuries while Nuruzzaman was snatched away, along with the seized drugs. 

Law enforcement then called for additional forces to rescue them. But by the time back-up forces arrived, the drug dealers fled the spot. 

Nuruzzaman’s lawyer, Humayun Kabir Akand, said they are not filing an appeal against the bail rejection.

“We will wait for the right time to come,” he said.

The story of another drug dealer of Ashulia, Rubel Dewan, 35, is a bit different. Rubel has been accused in a number of cases and every time he obtained bail to engage in business again.

He was caught with 43 yaba tablets on May 1 again, and was sent to jail by a Dhaka Court. By the time his family members were preparing to file a bail petition, law enforcement started the anti-drug drive across the country.

Rubel’s father, Joynal Dewan, asked the lawyer who was supposed to file the petition, not to proceed and to wait for some days to observe the ‘situation.’

“This is not the right time. They [law enforcement] will nab him again… and my son could be caught in the line of fire. He is my only son,” Rubel’s father told Dhaka Tribune over the phone.

According to law enforcement, those killed in drives either become victims of “drug gang infighting ” or “gunfights” with law enforcement. 

However, several human rights organisations doubt the almost identical versions of law enforcement accounts describing incidents of  killings.

Law enforcement has been following a list of drug dealers to arrest the accused, but there is wide criticism that they are unable to arrest kingpins. However, the drives have apparently succeeded in spreading panic among drug dealers.