12 May 2015 | 01:42am IST
Goa salutes you Curtorim, for your war cry against drugs
Finally, it took a conservative “interior” village, very proud of its history and its goenkarpon to give a war cry of ‘let’s bring back the peace”, a chant that will go a long way in their battle against the drug menace that has entered this idyllic village, riding on bullet bikes.
It is these drugs that probably took the life of two boys at the birthday party, when they were almost forcibly administered drugs by the two accused. Clearly the brazenness with which young boys on bikes move in with drugs and openly sell and consume it, has sent shockwaves, anger and hurt through the village. But unlike any other village in Goa, Curtorim has risen, with the young and the old, the policeman, the Priest and the politician meeting to jointly fight this fight. This became all the more moving when the mother of one of the deceased at the party joined the gathering and she spoke. And when she tried in vain to push back her tears and speak of her disciplined son who had never touched drugs but was forced to consume it at the party, she touched a very sensitive chord. Her words evoked a collective sadness and fear among most parents of the village and beyond. After all, a society’s decadence consumes the young and the virus of new and dangerous experiments hits Curtorim with the same velocity as Calangute.
But unlike Calangute, Curtorim has promised to fight, to speak out and take collective action which is demonstrative and visible. While awareness programmes will be launched in all the seven schools in the area, the Priests have asked parents to step up their efforts in counselling their children. Steps will be taken in engaging the youth with meaningful activities to ward them off the dangers of drugs.
But the high point of this meeting was the presence of a Sub-Inspector of the Anti-narcotics cell and the Police Inspector of the Maina Curtorim police station. The former educated the people of Curtorim how the drug menace has multiplied and gave a presentation of the kinds of drugs available in Goa. As an aside, didn’t one of the super bosses of the PSI of ANC, say not too long ago that there are no drugs in Goa? Let’s hold that thought. In a sign of positive change, the Maina Curtorim PI gave his mobile number for people to call or text him directly if they noticed any suspicious behaviour in the village. A village monitoring committee may also be formed soon.
Clearly, the most pained were the elderly, who spoke of seeing how the menace had reached their doorstep and even come in and looked worried that the village youth were getting out of control.
The biggest take away from this is a big question. And that is, why can’t every village and town be like Curtorim. Don’t we agree that if the villages of Candolim, Baga, Calangute, Siolim, Parra and Morjim in the North and Colva, Benaulim, Palolem and Patnem in the South (to name a few troubled spots), have the same template of resistance and change as Curtorim has shown, the war against drugs will be universal.
All this brings us to a crucial point on the road. Each village- even those not named above- has to ask itself, does it honestly want drugs to be eradicated? The answer is that the majority of Goa does, but in some of the coastal villages, the power of the drug gangs and locals who are selling Goa, acting as their agents is so powerful that even the voice of the priest, the politician and the policeman is not heard. And very often the politician and the policeman are partners in the very crime that villagers want to eradicate.
Which is why there is freshness, hope and energy in what Curtorim did on a hopeful Monday. If the common man chooses to be the watchdog of his community he does not need armies to protect him.