Online Desk :
Yaba traders are ready to surrender to the authorities in Cox’s Bazar at the end of January, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal says.
He made the comment to amid reports that listed smugglers of the illegal drug were assembling in the district amidst an ongoing anti-drug raid.
“I told them (police) to prepare details of their (yaba traders) identities. We will go over there on the 30th of January or the first week of February,” said the minister on Friday.
Deaths of suspected drug dealers, killed in so-called shootouts with police, continue to be reported from across Bangladesh since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered the anti-drug operation in May last year. But their activities proved difficult to restrain.
The government then began discussing the possibility of allowing yaba smugglers to surrender. The idea began to gain ground when a group of yaba smugglers based in Cox’s Bazar contacted police saying they wanted to surrender.
Then Anamul Hoque, a union council member from Teknaf who police identified as a drug trader, announced his surrender on Facebook.
There are reports that more than a hundred like him have assembled in Cox’s Bazar to seek ‘security in custody’.
When asked about the report, Cox’s Bazar Police Superintendent ABM Masud Hossain told, “Police have made contact with several yaba businessmen. They want to surrender voluntarily. The matter is being discussed in the top levels of administration.”
But he denied that police were providing the listed smugglers with custody.
“They’ve contacted each other and gathered on their own. They’ve assembled in a place at Cox’s Bazar and have been providing themselves safe custody.”
“There will be cases filed if they don’t return to normal activities,” said Home Minister Kamal said when asked about the possible conditions of their surrender.
“We’ll look into their cases if they don’t return to normal life.”
The minister declined a direct reply when asked whether there is a possibility of legitimising the wealth they have accumulated through their illegal business dealings.
“The matter of assets … the ACC or the NBR will look into that,” he said.