A few months ago, the Thane police blew the lid on the most ambitious drugs operation in India in recent times, and one that worked glitch-free for months. A routine arrest of a peddler hawking a new “white powder”, led police to an abandoned pharmaceuticals factory in Solapur, where a chemist addicted to the television show “Breaking Bad”, was purifying ephedrine in home-style ovens. Police found 20 tonnes of ephedrine—a highly-controlled chemical used as a precursor for making crystal meth—with a street value of Rs 2,000 crore. The operation was being managed by a Mumbai-based businessman down on his luck; his factory was to serve as base for precursors for the Akhasa Organisation’s bold gambit to become a big player in America and Europe. Indian don Vijay “Vicky” Goswami is an integral part of Akhasa.
India—especially ports in Gujarat—has emerged as an important point of origin of smuggling of precursor chemicals and prescription drugs to Africa and the Middle East, writes Alia Allana in the cover story, “The India connection”.
Stalking—a criminal offence since 2013—is widely prevalent. It forces women—the LGBTQ community has its share of stalkers as well—to uproot their lives by changing jobs, stopping education, and even moving cities to escape the harassment. In many cases it is also the gateway to acid attacks. Nandini Krishnan’s comprehensive report, (“Lurking in the shadows”) shines a light on the enormity of the problem, how entirely commonplace it is, and the limitations of the police. Her story stunningly documents more than one case where other women helped male stalkers abuse their prey.
The essay (“Prisoners of time”) is a meditation on the nature of time in Switzerland and India; the by-the-clock existence there, and the malleability of time here.
Five is a nice round number. It signifies a certain wholeness; a journey that is well under way. Five is also the number of change; the Indian voter gets to decide every five years. Fifty-six inch chests can shrink in five years.
Fountain Ink enters its sixth year of publication this month. Sixty issues later, we remain committed to the art of long-form journalism, and to on-the-ground reporting. Thank you, readers and subscribers, for your vote of confidence in our journalism.