Scarlett Keeling and the Goa Underworld

Jug Suraiya writes in the Times of India:

If drugs were not banned, would Scarlett Keeling, the British teenager who was raped and murdered in Goa, be alive today? Perhaps.

It was not drugs that killed Scarlett; it was the criminalisation of drugs that led to her death and to the subsequent cover-up attempt by the local police who allegedly are in collaboration with the drug mafias, mainly from Russia and Israel, who have reportedly set up operations in the state.

Read the full piece. In a nutshell, Jug’s point is that banning drugs takes it into the realm of the underworld, and makes drug use difficult to monitor, and drug users difficult to protect. (”[T]he growth of the mafia in the US has been traced to prohibition,” Suraiya reminds us.)

Think about it: if drugs were legal in Goa, and sold as openly as cigarettes and alcohol are, would the underworld be there at all? Why? What would be their revenue stream, their raison d’etre?

More reading:

Sudeep Chakravarti’s Creaky Paradise, in which he describes how Goa has gone to pieces over the last couple of decades.

My essay on the subject a few months ago, Don’t Punish Victimless Crimes.

(ToI link via email from Abhishek Saha.)