Tackling the drug abuse and trafficking
The data revealed by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) suggests that as 1222 cases were registered under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act -1985 in Jammu & Kashmir during the last year. According to the NCRB data, of the 1222 cases registered in J&K, 289 were lodged for possession of drugs for personnel use/consumption and 933 for drug trafficking. Among Union Territories, the NCRB data reveals that the highest number of cases were registered in Jammu & Kashmir. In total, 2206 cases were registered in eight Union Territories. Jammu and Kashmir is followed by Delhi and Chandigarh where 748 and 134 cases under NDPS Act have been registered, respectively. The data reveals that only two cases were registered under the law in Ladakh Union Territory during the last year. The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 is a central legislation to regulate production, consumption and transportation of such harmful substances as specified under the Act. One of the biggest challenges that the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is face to face with is that of drug abuse and trafficking. Besides the data revealed by NCRB, 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.