India’s illegal cannabis industry is one of the worst hit black markets in this pandemic. From dealers peddling their stock by skulking around grocery stores to sneaking their stash from other countries in their sleeping bags and food delivery agents becoming dealers to make ends meet, we have seen it all in 2020.
Now, reports of pandemic-hit teachers being accused and caught for the procurement and selling of drugs, are coming in. Last month, police in the Nungambakkam district in the south Indian state of Chennai arrested six persons, including a tuition teacher and two college students for procuring and possessing weed. A special police team was sent to the apartment from which they were operating, where they found and seized 10 kilos of weed. Later, they all were arrested.
Then just yesterday, Kiran G, a 22-year-old guest faculty teacher at the private ITI College in Karnataka’s Krishnapura, was arrested with 127 kgs of weed. He claimed that he started selling drugs to sustain his family in this pandemic as he didn’t get a job and his family had no other source of income.
The police also arrested two other individuals named Asgar Khan and Mahipal P. After interrogation, it was found that Kiran and Mahipal were Asgar’s suppliers and that they would go to Bengaluru to supply drugs.
Agsar had started selling drugs as he had no other source of income, and Mahipal is a recent graduate who couldn't get a job.
Like many other industries, teaching has been hit hard by the coronavirus lockdowns. While some teachers in India have been given “targets” to call parents and insist on paying for fees, some have received salary cuts or been furloughed as schools can no longer afford to keep teachers with many parents insisting on fee cuts. While some of the learning has migrated online, a huge chunk of India still doesn’t have access to technology. As a result, many have had to take up other jobs to earn a livelihood. While some have had to sell vegetables or work in farms, some have had to take up painting jobs or sell homemade food products. Some, like Kiran, though, seem forced into dealing cannabis which still remains illegal and criminalised in the country.