From a distance, it looked like a little crowd of the homeless, but a closer look reveals something quite different. On a footpath beneath the busy Mayor Hanif flyover at Dhaka’s Chankharpool, some were taking drugs while others, disguised as rag-pickers, were selling them.
With the law enforcement agencies doing nothing, the spot has become a safe haven for drug addicts and peddlers down the years, locals say.
After taking the drugs, such as marijuana, heroin and yaba, the addicts often spend the night on the footpath, making it virtually inaccessible to pedestrians.
“I used to be a truck driver. But I have been jobless for around seven and a half years. I take drugs here and live on whatever people give me”, said Dulal Mia, a drug abuser, who dwells in the area.
The drugs come from different places including the outskirts of Dhaka city, like Keraniganj and Jinjira, and from border areas like Comilla and beyond, he adds.
The cheaper price of drugs makes this a particularly popular spot among the addicts, says Abdul Gafur, another addict.
A large chunk of customers, locals suspect, are students of nearby Dhaka Medical College, Dhaka University and BUET.
“From university students to rickshaw-pullers, everyone comes here. Some even come riding their cars,” says Nimtoli resident Tariqul Islam.
He holds the law enforcers largely responsible for the letting the place become a hub for drug-trading.
“Day in and day out, drugs are being traded and consumed here in broad daylight but the administration does nothing. Why?” Nazrul Islam, a resident of Chankharpool said hinting at the law enforcers’ possible collusion with the peddlers.
Local police, however, denied the allegations.
“We often conduct raids there,” claimed Shahbagh police OC Abu Bakar Siddiqui. “They leave the spot during the raids, only to come back again. The situation is such that we cannot even arrest them.”
He said police would try to deal with the matter ‘in a better way’, according to bdnews24.com. - Idrak