Div Admin makes the right move

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The other day, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir,  Pandurang K Pole sought the cooperation and help of religious leaders and scholars in curbing drug abuse. He appealed to these scholars to sensitize the people in general and farmers in particular on growing poppy and cannabis and the use of drugs by the youth. He urged scholars to spread the message through Friday sermons in case of drug trafficking and abuse, the situation in Kashmir is as bad as in Punjab as the use of drugs by youth has reached a dangerous level here.  Divisional Kashmir’s initiative is the right step in the right direction. We, in these columns, have repeatedly been highlighting the spread of drug abuse in Kashmir. Kashmir has turned into a heaven of drug traffickers and drug abuse is emerging as the biggest challenge to Kashmir society as more and more people, particularly the youth, all falling prey to this menace. A cursory look at the local newspaper is enough to suggest that the menace is touching nefarious heights as the seizure of drugs and related arrested have become a permanent feature that appears in newspapers on daily basis. Besides the records of drug de-addiction centres are enough to indicate that the problem is graver than what is seen superficially.

Though a number of doctors, civil society activists and the concerned government agencies are trying their best to help the addicts to overcome the menace and start their lives afresh, the menace continues to grow in size with every passing day. Actually, drug trafficking and abuse can’t be dealt with official machinery, few social organization and doctors alone. It needs a strong and collective response from the citizenry. People need to understand that those who grow bhang in their agricultural farms and those who pump in heroin 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.

We have been repeatedly suggesting that the battle against drug trafficking and abuse can’t be fought by the police and administration alone. It needs a collective effort by all sections of the society and the religious leaders and Imams can play a key role in helping end the menace. The mohalla and village elders 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 needs to wake up and make the talk of narcotics part of public discourse.  The battle has to start from every household. Parents need to have close communication with their children so that they can easily notice any behavioural change in them that may be an indication that the children have chosen some wrong path. It is a battle that is to be fought by one and all and religious leaders can play a much bigger role.  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 of the disastrous outcome of the menace. By involving these religious leaders in the battle against drugs, the Divisional Commissioner has indicated that the administration is serious in dealing with the challenge. The need is to keep communication channels with these religious scholars open and the scholars too should take the initiative as a mission.

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