Service providers are worried Gelephu has risk of more youth-related problems 

Nima | Gelephu

Gelephu police charged a group of eight youth for involuntary manslaughter after a 21-year-old man from Sershong succumbed to head injury at Gelephu Central Regional Referral hospital on May 30.

The group, comprising of five boys and three girls, were detained for a month at Gelephu police station.

Among the group, two are minors.

Sources in Gelephu said one minor is a girl and she is the only student in the group. “Others were class X and XII dropout.”

The group allegedly planned and attacked the deceased on May 24 after he was found chatting with a woman, married to one of the youth in the group. The woman was also involved in the attack. It was learnt that the deceased and married woman were in a relationship before.

The mother of the deceased said the incident was unfortunate and she never expected her son to face such a situation in Gelephu.

Police and desuups patrolling the area found the deceased lying unconscious by the roadside at Jampelling and took him to Gelephu CRRH. The man was admitted in the intensive care unit for almost a week.

Gelephu police, in an earlier interview with Kuensel, said that it was a planned attack.

“The husband of the married woman sought help from his friends to call the 21-year-old and attacked him after reaching the site near the fishery area,” an official said.

The incident has kept the residents and service providers dealing with issues related to youth worried about the risk of youth problems resurfacing in Gelephu, as they were left idle most of the time because of the pandemic.

A recovery symposium held at Gelephu centre on June 26 highlighted the risk of youth getting into drugs and alcohol use because of the lack of recreational space in the town. Youth are left without meaningful engagement with most of the activities restricted because of the pandemic.

Gelephu police said that more than 30 cases involving youth were reported in the past five months, which posed the risk of importing coronavirus to the community during the symposium.

Gelephu drop-in centre’s (DiC) in-charge, Hemnath Layo Monger, said that there could be more problems related to youth, as support services could not be carried out as planned in the wake of the pandemic.

“There are youth getting into drugs and alcohol use at a young age. It is important that we provide treatment and support services at the earliest. There are chances of community seeing more cases related youth.”

He said there are families and youth who are not aware of the early treatment and some hesitate to come forward. “This makes our community more vulnerable to problems related to youth.”

Officials from Gelephu youth centre, Gelephu police, counsellors, recovering addicts, and youth receiving counselling services observed the international day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on June 26.

An official from Gelephu youth centre said that there was a need to strengthen support mechanisms and develop a support network while solving problems facing the youth. “The stakeholders are still focused on implementing penalties and expulsion.”

The centre received at least 10 clients, referred from institutions for counselling and other support services daily so far, according to the record with the DiC.

Officials said that the use of the controlled substance has reduced in Gelephu but most of the users have switched to alcohol as a substitute. “It is widely available and the youth are more vulnerable to alcohol-related disease now. Switching to lighter drugs for hallucination is a common trend among those suffering from substance use disorder,” said an official.

Edited by Tashi Dema