Looking beyond Covid-19
While the entire society is focused at the fresh spread of Covid-19, and genuinely so, there are other aspects of the life that too deserve some attention as these too are very crucial to our survival as a healthy society. One of the crucial issues confronting Kashmir is the abuse and trafficking of drugs. Data released by Jammu and Kashmir Police recently portrays a grim picture. As per the data, during the current year till mid-April, 306 NDPS cases have been registered and 445 drug peddlers have been arrested in Kashmir Valley. Huge quantity of contraband as well as psychotropic substances have been recovered and seized which includes 22 kilograms of Heroin worth about Rs 100 crores, 100 kilograms of charas worth about Rs 88 crores, 01 kilogram of brown sugar worth about Rs 01 crore, 159 kilograms of bhang, 1671 kilograms poppy straw, 576 kilograms fukki, 5448 bottles of banned syrup, 15641 banned tablets/capsules approximately. Besides the illegal substances, cash amounting Rs 303088, believed to be proceeds of drugs has also seized from the drug peddlers. South Kashmir tops the list as 219 drug peddlers have been arrested from there during the period while as 138 have been arrested in north Kashmir Range and 88 in Central Kashmir Range. Out of these arrested peddlers, 36 have been detained under Public Safety Act (PSA). The data further reveals that since the year 2020, J&K Police have seized 464 kilogram of narcotic substances worth about Rs 424 Cr.
The data presents a grim picture and one can undoubtedly conclude that drug trafficking is as a big challenge to Kashmir society as the Covid-19. While we have been stressing time and again that war against Covid-19 can’t be won the government efforts only but by the dedicated cooperation of the public, same is true about the drug menace. Though Police have been on forefront in war against drug abuse and drug trafficking, it is the people who could ensure that the society gets rid of this unhealthy trend. Those who are cultivating bhang in their agricultural fields in several parts of the south Kashmir need to be named and shamed. Besides, the members of the society need to have a close eye on their surroundings and in case they find this dirty business being conducted anywhere, they should report of the law enforcing agencies. Parents need to have a close watch on their wards lest they fell to this horrible addiction. Religious leaders can play a very important role in curbing the menace. They are the ones who enjoy quite good respect in the society. People respect them and honour their words. They can help spread word against drug abuse and drug trafficking.
That said, the government agencies too need to pull their socks to end the dirty trade. Though police have been doing good job by arresting drug peddlers, but still there are some loopholes and reports suggest that there are some black sheep within police and other concerned agencies who are hand-in-glove with those involved in the dirty trade. Every year we are told that police destroyed the bhang crop on n number hectares of land in south Kashmir districts. The question is that why still it is grown every year. Reason being that some portion of the crop may be destroyed for media consumption but the operations lack seriousness. If police arrests and books the owners of such lands under PSA, it will discourage others to indulge in the practice. Let us understand that drug menace is eating into the very vitals of our society and that people, police, and other concerned agencies have to pool their resources to defeat it and save the future of Kashmir.