Dealing with the drug trafficking and abuse
Not a single day passes when the local media doesn’t report about seizure of narcotics and related arrests. On one hand the drug trafficking has become a notorious norm in Kashmir and on the other hand more and more youth are falling prey to drug abuse. Reports suggest that in 2020 alone, 36.08 Kg of pure heroine, 240.7 Kgs of Charas and 49.7 Kgs of brown sugar were seized from different parts of Kashmir Valley. These are the substances that were seized by the police and one needs not to be a rocket scientist to analyse that much more of these narcotics are in circulation and may have reached other parts of the country. It is an alarming trend and needs a multi-pronged response both from the government and the citizenry. In several areas of south Kashmir bhang cultivation has become a norm. Every year people are made to believe that action is being taken against these unscrupulous growers but come next year, they are again growing the same poison in their farm lands. The very fact that these growers are not repenting and not stopping indulging in the crime is an indication that there is something wrong within the agencies which are responsible for controlling the menace. It goes without saying that money is the big factor and some black sheep within the concerned agencies may be hand-in-glove with these nefarious elements. Need is to identify and isolate such elements and curb the menace with full might.
That said, drug trafficking and abuse can’t be dealt with official machinery alone. It needs a strong response from the citizenry. People need to understand that those who grow bhang in some south Kashmir villages and those who pump in heroine and brown sugar into Kashmir are the worst enemies of Kashmiris. They may be earning money while doing so but that money is being earned at the cost of the health and lives of Kashmiri youth. It is high time that people wake up to this disaster in making and fight the battle against drug trafficking. Religious leaders, particularly the Imams of Masjids can play a vital rule in fighting this battle. Every Friday, the Imams lead congregational prayers and give sermons about various issues. People listen to them, respect them and their word has an impact. Let these Imams talk about the menace during these sermons. Let them make people aware about the disastrous outcome of the menace. The mohalla and village elders too need to play their role. As responsible citizens they should keep an eye on their respective areas and if they find someone involved in such crimes, they should take help from law enforcing agencies to stop the crime. Kashmir’s civil society too needs to wake up and make the talk of narcotics part of public discourse. It is a battle that is to be fought by one and all. Any delay or complacency would prove disastrous for the society as a whole.