Part 1

Part 2

The Inside Story
The recent suicide of a teenaged girl over drugs has jolted this somnolent coastal city awake.

Sneha Upadhya, coming from a middle class family, was an unlikely victim of substance abuse. Her parents refused to believe that she was a hard core addict till she began going ‘cold turkey’ in the middle of the night, and began pestering her parents for huge sums of money for unknown reasons.

Sneha, 16, had become addicted to several types of substances including alcohol, tobacco, narcotics, grass and even gutkha.

“We did not know how she got into substance abuse. We sent her to the most orthodox PU college in the town which is known for its strict administration and rules, but yet she got into serious substance abuse. It is a shock we will never recover from,” said Sunitha Upadhya, Sneha’s mother.

“A youngster need not go far looking for such substances any one of them could be available just at a stone’s throw. Cigarettes are being sold just across the road from the gates of the schools and colleges despite the rule that no tobacco should be available within 100 metres of any educational institution. In Mangalore, every shop that sells snacks and soft drinks sells tobacco openly and god knows what else,” Vedavati Rao, teacher of a first grade college in the city, says.

Parents in the city now fear sending their children out.

“We do not know what they will come across or who will befriend them for what purpose. I hear drug peddlers get youngsters hooked on to keep their sinister trade alive and profitable,” a terrified parent said.

“It is so frightening that I have started dropping and picking up my daughter who is in second PU, and my son who is in 10th standard son from their respective institutions, despite my time constraints and job pressure,” says Melwyn Pinto.
The citizens blame the police.

“They know this trade was going on in the city, yet they take no action to wipe it out. They should have a special force to detect drug peddlers and petty shops that sell narcotics,” a social activist says.

The police demur
“There is no need for a special force. Every policeman and every police station coming under Mangalore police commissionerate is equipped and trained to detect substance abuse and trade. In 2013, we have so far detected four cases of drug trade and just the other day we arrested a person carrying 550 grams of ganja,” Commissioner of Police Manish Karbikar told DNA.

The Bajrang Dal,which had its name besmirched because of its vigilante activities, has scented an opportunity in Sneha’s tragedy. Its members have become police informants.

“As many as450 members of our group have spread out in the city looking out of persons who visit the college premises without any reason. Unlike in the past, we will take no action against them, but will inform the police,” says Sharan, a member. But, the Dal, despite its reformist face, hasn’t changed its agenda.

“We know that a certain group of people started targeting young people of a particular majority community for afflicting them with the habit of substance abuse with an intention to weaken them. They are creating comfort zones for smoking, drinking and other vices where women were allowed to indulge,” Sharan says.

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Teenage Girl committed suicide due to Drug addiciton

Sneha Upadhyaya aged 17 from Padavinangady in Mangalore, committed suicide by hanging herself at her house on the night of February 2, Saturday.

Reports said the girl was addicted to drugs and had chosen to end her life out of frustration. It is said she had demanded Rs 1500 from her mother on Saturday night. However, when her mother refused, she had rushed to her room and locked the room from inside. That she had ended her life came to light only in the morning, when she did not respond to calls. The door was broke open to find her hanging from the ceiling. Sneha was the daughter of Gururaj Upadhyaya who worked at an electronic shop at Bejai. It is learnt, she was studying at Sharada Vidyalaya last year, but was not attending school since some months. According to her mother, she was admitted to a rehabilitation centre at Bangalore for treatment, after which she had recovered, but once again got addicted to drugs. Her mother also said Bhajrangdal people helped her locate her daughter sometime back when she went missing and finally found at Manipal End Point.
The death of Sneha has shed light on the dangerous drugs mafia which is prevalent in the city and how youngsters fall prey to the mafia easily.

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