The police conducted a drive against drug addicts at suburban railway stations after a drug addict allegedly mugged an American lady on a local train on August 18.
More than 150 drug addicts were rounded up from various crevices of the railway network between Churchgate and Borivli and CST and Kalyan and from harbour line stations, like Govandi, Mankhurd, Chembur and Vashi.
The police now have photos of most of these “suburban crawlies” with adequate background on where they operate, their modus operandi and their junkie gangs.
The American woman had told the police that the man who had attacked her had brown eyes, was slim and looked like a heavy drug-user with. With these details, a team of 30 railway policemen and the railway crime branch started searching for the man.
On August 25, a team led by crime branch inspector DD Wadmare and CST railway police senior inspector SN Deshmukh managed to zero in on the brown-eyed junkie, Rajkumar Tiwari, who was found loitering near CST.
Speaking to dna, Wadmare acknowledged that the coordination between the railway and city police resulted in an intense anti-junkie drive across railway stations.
“We put in a lot of effort and, thankfully, managed to get Tiwari. In the process, we also got a grip on the unwanted situation of drug addicts loitering on railway premises. The drive will continue with just as much vigour as earlier,” said Wadmare.
However, for the police, nabbing these addicts is just half the battle won. Keeping a junkie out of the railway premises, a vast porous network with multiple illegal entries, and nooks and corners near abandoned railway buildings is a task too huge to come to terms with.
The railway police charge addicts under section 27 of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, which deals with people found in possession of small quantities of drugs. While the section stipulates a term of six months in jail or a fine or both, many are released after executing a personal bond.
A senior official said that in most cases, with nowhere to go, the addict returns to the railway station he used to haunt.
“Look at Tiwari. Despite having four cases against him at the CST railway police station and serving two externment orders, he was found close to the CST area itself. Unless something is done to enter these people into rehabilitation or take them away from railway stations, the threat from drug addicts will continue to loom large on commuters,” said the official.