Lack of parental care and guidance and the easily availability of banned substances and other drugs from across the border are the some of the key reasons why youth come into conflict with law in Phuentsholing, which shares borders with the Indian state of West Bengal, say some residents interviewed by this paper.
The Superintendent of Police of Phuentsholing police station said that, these days’ children are more into drugs like SP, N10, diluter and marijuana. He said, quite often, they apprehend youths involved in drugs. In one case they apprehended one youth under possession of about more than 10,000 pieces of drugs.
He said, “If we look at the detention center, 75 percent of the case reported is with regard to drugs where youths are mainly involved. Youths here in Phuentsholing usually buy drugs from the border area”.
Through interaction, he said that, they see many youth abusing drugs in Jaigaon and they hang around together. “Youths today even modify the drugs whereby they make improvised hookahs. Depending upon the sign and symptom of a person, we make sure that every person undergoes a thorough check-up”, he said.
They carry out random checking which is usually carried out in the main gate which is how they apprehend drug peddlers. If conducted on a regular basis, he said traffic congestion will be the main issue.
He said the RBP faces many challenges of which the first is lack of technology whereby it becomes hard for them to see a person carrying such substance. “It would be more convenient and helpful if we have scanner in both the entry and exit gate”, he added. Secondly, they fail to conduct a regular checking due to certain issues, which mostly include traffic congestion.
The third challenge they face is, dealing with the repeat offenders who are mostly youths including girls. He also said that, not only drugs but alcohol as well is becoming an issue in society. “Youths mainly over indulge in alcohol because they come from broken families and exceptionally, one or two from rich families”, he added.
Apart from those two, youths these days commit series of burglaries and they go around with weapons and rob people. Talking about youth unemployment, he said that, “I don’t know the rate but I think that the unemployment rate of youths is quite high in Phuentsholing”.
In addition, he said, youths are getting involved in under age sex cases. He said, “It is actually not rape but with law it comes under the crime. Thought they have consent from both the partner, they need to cross the age of 18. However, such cases are very minimal among the youths and we give awareness on such issues as well”.
To curb such issues, the RBP are taking many prevention measures like awareness of youth related issues in schools. Now, the modus operandi of youths has just changed in smuggling drugs.
He said, “Youths tend to pack their things in a cartoon box without any name and address of the receiver whereby they just give the description of the box to the receiver. Somehow, we managed to arrest one or two such cases”.
RBP have carried out many initiatives like PYPP, POSYPP and FoP through which youths are involved in many ways. In this way, youths are contributing in many positive ways like as informers, crowd controllers and also in keeping themselves away from crime.
He also emphasized on the presence of Drayangs whereby youths are getting involved in sexual harassment, drugs, alcohol, battery and assault. With such issues, RBP is carrying out awareness program wherever and whenever needed.
Ugyen Penjor a civil servant, said youth getting into crime because of the unemployment is just an excuse. “They just that they need a reason, in some case even employed youths are into crime and drugs,” he said. “I think youths are into crime because they get zero care from parents and are into drugs because that have lots of money. Parents should have time for their children and drug issues can be reduced if sources across the border could be stopped.”
Damchoe, a villager, said that youths these days never listen to what their parents tell them. “They leave the village for town and when they can’t get a job they come back to the village and get addicted to alcohol,” she said.
Zeko, 65, said he thinks that youth get into crime because of poverty. “When they don’t have money they want to migrate to town for a better life and when it does not work out they get into such issues,” he said.
Jamtsho, a gup contestant of Chapcha gewog, said that youths get into crime and drugs when they are idle during their vacation.
There is a separate budget under the health sector programme to provide awareness on issues like sexual abuse, drugs and alcohol among the youth at the gewog level according to the gewog administration officer Geling Gewog under Chukha dzongkhag.
“We emphasize on school drop-out youths” said the GAO. “Some are farming and doing private business and contributing to the gewog and their family.”
This story was made possible due to support from DoIM