Myanmar never kept words over drug smuggling: home minister

Staff Correspondent | Published at 02:17am on June 26, 2019

Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Tuesday again blamed Myanmar authorities for their poor initiative against smuggling of Yaba pills from their country into Bangladesh and ‘forcibly displaced’ Rohingyas were now being used in transporting the drugs.

The minister also said the Rohingya people were not ‘welcomed’ in Bangladesh rather they were allowed only on humanitarian grounds.

The senior cabinet member was addressing a press conference at his ministry on the eve of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking to be observed today.

Asaduzzaman said the Yaba tablets were coming from Myanmar and people along the border between Bangladesh and Myanmar were Rohingyas.

‘So, to continue the supply [of Yaba], the Rohingyas are being engaged. And they have been using the route for a long time. Despite all-out efforts on our part, Rohingyas are getting engaged in drug peddling,’ said the minister.

The minister criticised Myanmar authorities and said, ‘We had held several meetings with Myanmar and no positive changes followed. Myanmar too said that those [Yaba] were dangerous but no action was taken so far.’

The minister highlighted the initiative the government and its agencies took over the last one year to curb the drug trade.

He avoided answering a journalist’s question regarding whether the government was successful in disrupting the ‘trafficking’ of drugs as over 410 people got killed in ‘gunfight’ or found dead since May 15, 2018.

Instead the minister said, ‘We always said that the law enforcement agencies never killed people. Where there are illicit drugs, there are illegal firearms around,’ said the minister.

He argued that the deaths took place when the criminals challenged the law enforcement agencies during an operation.

The minister, however, termed the deaths in ‘gunfights’ as ‘unfortunate’. 

The minister also said that they wanted to introduce dope-testing during recruitment in government jobs gradually as prime minister Sheikh Hasina already gave her consent to it.

‘It will be implemented gradually at the entry level,’ said the minister.

In the last one year, the government agencies seized 5,30,48548 pieces of Yaba tablets across the country along with 452 kgs of heroine, among others. The department of narcotics control said 1,61,323 people were arrested in 1,19,878 cases.