At a time when the menace of drug abuse has posed a huge challenge to humanity, the firm resolve of Prime Minister Nerandra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to make India ‘Drug Free' has come as a huge relief for the people across the country, especially Kashmir.
The consumption of deadly drugs like Heroin is not only hollowing the Gen-Next, but also ruining lakhs and lakhs of families and raising multiple societal issues with regards to law and order. The epidemic has spread to almost all segments of society especially the young, productive and fertile age group. The United Nations Narcotics Bureau describes international drug abuse as the worst epidemic in global history.
The geographical location of India between the major Heroin producing areas of the world, Golden Triangle (Burma, Laos and Thailand) and Golden Crescent (Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan) make it a transit for drugs like Heroin and Brown Sugar. The firm statement of Amit Shah in the Parliament that Golden Triangle and Golden Crescent were death triangle and death crescent only and those involved in drug dealings were merchants of death is a stern warning by a resolute government.
Amit Shah’s assertions that the government would not spare those who are involved in drug peddling, whosoever they are, has sent a strong signal to those who are not only trying to make profit from this dirty business but also using proceeds for financing terrorism.
“Our government has a zero-tolerance policy towards the issue of drugs. Those countries promoting terrorism in our country are using the profits from drugs for the same. The presence of this dirty money also gradually hollows our economy,” the Home Minister said while responding to a discussion in Lok Sabha on drug abuse.
All the states, Union Territories have to fight together against the drug menace. We need to stop the entry of drugs through borders, ports and airports. Revenue dept, NCB and anti-narcotics agencies have to work against the menace being on the same page, he added.
The Home Minister revealed that Pakistan was using drones, tunnels, posts and airports to smuggle drugs into India. “And if drugs were caught at the airport or a port, how was that supposed to reach the smallest paan shop? Such problems will be solved only if we investigate the entire network. I have told all home ministers that there are state borders involved, sometimes international borders, sometimes domestic state borders, investigations have to be conducted beyond borders as well,” he added.
Amit Shah was right when he said that those who were making drug abuse a political issue were supporting the dirty business. The agencies working against drug dealers can't work without rights as they need power. If NIA gets any information about the trade of drugs anywhere in the world connected to India, it can go anywhere in the world. The Parliament has empowered it and given it the right to do the same.
In Kashmir, the cross border narco-terror threat has become a major area of concern. The Union Territory J&K have seen large narcotic seizures in recent years, particularly of high –value drugs like Heroin. Narco-terrorism in Kashmir seems to have a plausible reason for its growth since Pakistan backed terror operatives in the valley have a readymade network of over ground workers (OGWs) in border areas who have been acting as couriers of arms/ammunitions, fake currency etc in the recent past.
The malaise is much deeper and the narco-terror is growing to become a big threat from Pakistan not only in terms of sustenance of terrorist activities by terror outfits but also in terms of its impact on the youth in the valley. The alarming high rate of Heroin abuse due to its easy availability in last few years is an example of gravely increased prevalence of substances abused in Kashmir.
A recent study conducted by the Government Medical College’s Psychiatry department has revealed that Kashmir had left behind Punjab in drug abuse and is in the second slot after North East as the overall prevalence of substance abuse has reached 2.87 percent with heroin becoming the most commonly used drug by the addicts.
After the Taliban’s last year take-over in Afghanistan, there are apprehensions that more drugs could come into India as a report published in 2018 claimed that the Taliban earns 60% of the revenue from the drug trade. Along the border with Pakistan, Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab are particularly vulnerable, with sophisticated technology like drones being now increasingly used to smuggle drugs.
Under such circumstances, the resolve shown by the government of India led by PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah has rekindled hope among the people of Kashmir and rest of the country that the enemy will not be allowed to succeed in its nefarious designs.
Pakistan’s primacy in the international narcotics trade and the funding of terrorist activities has been time and again confirmed by several investigation agencies worldwide, as well as by Pakistani sources. If ever India needed a firm government to tackle the menace of drugs and terrorism, it is now and luckily PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah like people are at the helm of affairs who won’t allow the neighboring country to play its dirty-game in Kashmir and elsewhere in the country.
(Author is a Social Activist and can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org