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South Asia: Indian Newspaper Cheers On Anti-Drug Vigilantes

Anti-drug activists in the Orissa state city of Kendrapara attacked and drove off opium addicts near the Balababa Shiva temple recently, garnering sympathy from the newspaper The Statesman for their extra-legal vigilantism.

"Anti-Drug Campaign Successful," read the headline above The Statesman's brief report on the incident, in which, as the paper reported, "a group of youths set afire opium contraband and sent back scores of addicts from the premises of a Hindu temple in the heart of this district headquarters town."

The newspaper approvingly quoted Kumar Choudhury, president of the local Balababa Youth Club, who reported that his youth vigilantes stole more than a kilogram of opium from the addicts. "Later it was set on fire," Choudhury explained.

According to Choudhury, addicts loitering around the temple "were vitiating the serene atmosphere" around the temple and refused to pay heed to his youth group's complaints. So his youths drove them off by force.

"The members of our youth club resolved to restore order in the temple and chase away the addicts. First of all we tried to convince them of the ill effects of opium. But it did not yield result. The addicts did not pay heed to us," a club member said.

As the Statesman put it: "On the auspicious day of Ganesh Chaturthi, the campaign was launched. Using force, the addicts were chased away."

"They are yet to revisit the place, much to the relief of locals and devotees," said Choudhury. "We have put up a notice on the temple wall warning the addicts not to venture into the temple. Luckily their intrusion has stopped since then," he concluded.

Anti-drug vigilantism is not unknown, in India and elsewhere. It has been especially notable in South Africa. But it is not usually condoned by the press.

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SE Asia: Indian Newspaper Cheers On Anti Drug Vigilantes

I'm sure the youths were or had an Addiction Specialist M.D. when they tried to 'convince the addicts of their problem.' Yeah right, so now we have the media praising youths who bypass law enforcement authorities, corrupt though they may be, and taking the law into their own hands. I see and agree with their point that the addicts do not belong in that type of neighborhood but praising vigilante gangs is even a worse crime against humanity than opiate addiction. One thing is certain, they sure aren't learning about love for their fellowman through their religion. Try to help your neighbor and if it fails run them out of town. This gives a whole new meaning to "Love Thy Neighbor." I wonder if Buddha, or whoever, preached this type of thinking? Well now they can spend more time meditating on compassion for others. Again...Yeah, right...

Anti drug vigilantes

Totally agree with the above.
Gives youths an excuse to use force and even to be praised for it.
Nothing to do with compassion.
I cannot stand self righteousness and puritanism.

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