Rave Party Ban will Stop Drugs?

By Ashwin Tombat
20 August 2017 11:04 IST

"Is the party over?" That's the question the media worldwide is asking after two young men died last Sunday, allegedly owing to drug overdose. Pravin Sundaram, 28, from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, and Nidan Abdullah, 20, from Kozhikode, Kerala, came out of separate parties in Anjuna-Vagator complaining of uneasiness, and died soon after.

The cause of death is yet to be legally ascertained, as the post mortem analysis of the viscera is still pending. Forensic doctors who carried out the post mortem said that all other observations point to a drug overdose.

But one can never be 100 per cent certain.

Take the case of Denyse Sweeney, a 34-year-old British woman who worked at an animal charity and died in April 2010, at Anjuna. The official verdict was that Denyse had died after a drug overdose. But a second examination done in the UK showed no illegal substances were in her system. It was also revealed that she had 20 bruises on her body at the time of death, including one measuring 4.5cm on the back of her skull...!

Police have been instructed to crack down on Rave Parties. "Rave parties on beaches or remote areas should be totally stopped... Late night rave parties are illegal and it is where drugs are consumed and distributed," Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told the media.

The parties may stop, for now. But will the drugs go away?

Every time there is an incident, the government comes up with a quick, knee-jerk reaction. Then, gradually, things go back to 'normal'; until the next incident...

According to The Times of India, an average of one foreigner a week died in Goa between 2008 and 2011. Of the 161 deaths, 25 are believed to be from drowning, 16 followed road accidents and 15 were due to natural causes. The cause of death in 53 cases is not known, and many of these deaths are suspected to be from drug overdose.

Drug dealing in Goa is very cleverly and subtly done. If an obviously Indian-looking tourist walks the 7km stretch of beach between Aguada and Baga, (s)he would be accosted by people selling fabrics, trinkets, drums, handicrafts; or offering massages... But not a single pushing drugs.

If a foreign tourist walks the same stretch, (s)he would be approached every 50 metres by someone trying to peddle drugs. A couple, both police personnel from the UK who were on holiday in Goa shortly after British teenager Scarlett Keeling's death, said that sometimes more drug peddlers than hawkers would be pestering them on the beach.

It does not seem like Rave Parties are the place where most of Goa's drugs are sold and consumed. Charas, Ganja, LSD, Ketamine, Ecstasy (MDMA) and Cocaine can all be easily bought on the beaches. So how will a ban on Rave Parties curb drug consumption? Are the Police giving the Chief Minister the correct information?

Drugs cannot be defeated by bans on Rave Parties. The drug trade can be curtailed only when the Police develop an effective intelligence network of informers, and crack down on the big drug dealers. The recent 'raids' on Anjuna beach bars, where minuscule quantities of drugs were seized (11g of Charas and 0.8g of Ecstacy in one case, and just 7.3gm of Charas in the other) seem to be mere eyewash.   

What also needs to be looked into is the nexus between politicians, police, party organisers and drug dealers (often, the last two categories overlap). The Congress candidate for the upcoming by-poll in Valpoi is Roy Naik. Interestingly, Roy was named by Fiona MacKeown, the late Scarlett Keeling's mother, in her sworn testimony before the Children's Court in Panaji, as a dealer who had sold drugs to Scarlett just days before she was sexually assaulted and left to die in the sea.

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Ashwin Tombat

Ashwin Tombat has been the Editor of Gomantak Times and Herald. Worked as an Associate Editor of national magazine Gentleman in Mumbai, before shifting to Goa. Loves sailing, also participates in Marathons. Has worked as an activist in students's union and trade unions in Maharashtra. Also an artist of Street Theatre during student days.

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Previous Comments

Hahahahahah, I think ban on rave or stopping late night parties is not a good idea. They are so many people out there who love goa for the music and the place so I think stopping all this will be taking the freedom . People who come to goa should be smart enough to know what's going on they do there own thing have a happy holiday and get home . Foolish people stupid people who get things from the internet show up on the sea shore wandering around , that should be stopped . Keep it real keep it underground S T A Y S A F E . L E T T H E M U S I C K I L L Y O U . F R E E T H E R A V E . F R E E M U S I C . F R E E G O A . F R E E L O V E . GET BAD DRUG DETECTERS , so they can get there Drug tested to know if it's spiked or PURE. Help in this way , stop making stupid decisions think forward. Goa is for MUSIC and pure night dark music. L I V E H A P P Y

- Mars, Mandrem | 20 th August 2017 15:10


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