For Goa's drug lords, Gokarna is next stop

Monday, 2 December 2013 - 12:28pm IST | Place: Karwar | Agency: DNA
NDPS investigators keeping a close watch on Nigerians coming to Om beach.

The drug mafia in Goa, which fought a ruthless turf war recently, has spread its tentacles to neighbouring Karnataka, and has begun to operate from the Om beach in Gokarna.

The police in Gokarna have spotted many Nigerians arriving in the town housing the religious shrine, which, according to them is a new and alarming trend. So far, Nigerians were not keen on visiting Om beach which is just a pleasant drive away from this religiously inclined township.

The town, known for its Shiva temple and the skills of its purohits to perform the last rites of Hindus, is now under surveillance of the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) sleuths.

A senior official with the NDPS cell of the State police said they had confirmed reports that a few
Nigerian nationals having links with drug peddlers in Goa were trying to operate from Karnataka, after one of them was killed during the gang war in the western Indian state.

The foreigners seem to be moving to Gokarna, after failing to set up shop in Canacona or Palaolim, said a senior official of the NDPS cell of the state police. The department has also sensitized the local hotels, resorts and local groups of people and fishermen youths about the influx of the foreigners.

The turf war over drugs that broke out in Goa earlier this month took the toll of one Nigerian national Obina Paul which brought the entire Nigerian group into open as they blocked the roads in the Goa and the government of Goa started cracking down on not just Nigerian drug mafia but also the local and Russian drug peddlers according to BJP functionaries in Mapusa, Majorda and Anjuna the MLAs of their areas have asked the local fringe groups to intensify their vigil against the drug peddlers.

Sources in the police say that patrolling has been intensified on few beaches of Uttara Kannada and towns like Karwar, Kumta and Gokarna. Intelligence exchanges between the police have also been happening in Southern maritime districts like Dakshina Kannada and Udupi.

One of the threats that Nigerians have handed to the Goa government after Obina Paul died, was that “the government should know there were number of Indians living in Nigeria, they have taken our jobs and some of us who were students cannot go back as there were no jobs, so we continue to stay here and try to earn money through peddling. If the government here harasses us think about Indians in Nigeria”, this political observation made by the Nigerians has been viewed seriously by the Goan government. The next step will be to take the help of the Ministry of External Affairs to deal with the illegally overstaying Nigerians, which was now on the cards.

“The beaches in Karnataka would not be easy for the foreign drug mafia to take over.We have posted our youth activists on all beaches right from Mazali to Om beach,” said Sudhir Prabhu, member of the Bajrang Dal. “We will not take law into our hands but only act as a pressure group and inform police and NDPS sleuths in our area about the narcotics dealers,” said Prabhu.

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