Mumbai: In a unique initiative, Muslim clerics, intellectuals and social activists Friday pledged to make Mumbai drug-free, especially the city's minority-dominated areas, on the occasion on India's 68th Independence Day.
The special event was organised at the Islam Gymkhana where a debate was conducted between police and the public on how to tackle the growing menace of drugs among youths and eradicate it from society.
Prominent cleric Hazrat Maulana Syed Moin Miyan expressed alarm at the increasing use of psychotropic drugs among youngsters, and said it was spreading like an infection among all sections of society.
"This infectious wave has rattled thousands of homes, including many from the minority community. In fact, there is evidence to show that the use of such drugs is rampant in Muslim-dominated areas in the city, which is a matter of great concern," said Hazrat Maulana, president of the Jamia Qadariya Ashrafia.
He said there is a large number of drug peddlers in the minority areas, an estimated 200, plus those who surreptitiously sell the killer drugs and trap the youths.
Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority chairman Yusuf Abrahani termed the drug menace "a real challenge for all Mumbaikars, especially the minorities, and police".
"Despite spreading awareness about the dangers of drugs, its consumption seems to be increasing and youngsters are becoming addicts," he said.
Calling for intense efforts to step up policing, Mumbadevi legislator Amin Patel said conscious citizens who attempt to curb these illegal activities have been brutally attacked by drug peddlers and the mafia in south Mumbai.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Anti-Narcotics Cell) Namdeo Chavan and police inspector of Azad Maidan police station Suhas Gokhale assured full cooperation to the citizens in curbing and eradicating the drug menace, especially from minority areas.
On the occasion, police announced two helpline numbers - 9821133361 and 9702386668 - to enable people to alert law enforcers on the menace in their localities.