Merchants of death
On January 09, 2022, police in Katra arrested a drug peddler and recovered ten rolls of charas and Rs 2 lakh from his questioning. During questioning, the arrested peddler disclosed that he had already sold charas worth Rs. 12.35 lakh to the youth of the area. This amount too was recovered from his residence by the police. The Reasi police alone have registered 205 NDPS cases against 249 offenders since March 2021. Though, this report may have not attracted public eye but it undoubtedly speaks volumes about the rot that the society is face to face with. This is not the first case as police in J&K has been seizing homegrown charas and fuki besides heroin and other deadly drugs. Those involved in such kind of nefarious businesses are the worst enemies of the people of J&K. It goes without saying that when a place is used as a route to smuggle drugs, the people of that place, particularly the youths never remain untouched by the menace and that is why we have been witnessing growing number of drug addicts here.
In these columns, the menace of drug abuse and drug trafficking has been discussed umpteenth times, even to the extent of sounding repetitive, but the crisis in the society is so serious that it needs this repetitiveness. Those who are dealing with this gory trade are the merchants of death who need to be dealt with sternly. It is satisfactory to note that the government is working on the issue seriously and JK Police too has been working tirelessly to deal with the issue. It is because of these efforts that huge quantities of contraband drugs are being seized almost every day. While entire society besides the administration is presently focused on containing the spread of Covid-19, and genuinely so, the issue of drug abuse too needs to be addressed side by side to save the society, particularly the youth. Watching daily reportage of Jammu and Kashmir based local dailies, regarding drug abuse and drug trafficking, the situation is very dangerous as drug abuse is emerging as a biggest challenge to the society with more and more people, particularly the youth, falling to this menace. Though there is no statistical data available to show the exact number of drug addicts in the Valley, reports pouring in on daily basis regarding arrests related to drug trafficking, seizure of contraband drugs, besides the records of drug de-addiction centres are enough to indicate that the problem is graver than what is being seen superficially. As reported by Kashmir Images sometime back, just five years ago about 500 people used to visit the de-addiction center of Government Medical College in Srinagar annually for treatment and rehabilitation purposes. But the number has gone, astonishingly, ten times up in past five years.
Though a lot is being written and said about the issue 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. Fact of the matter is that drug trafficking and abuse can’t be dealt only 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 heroine and brown sugar into Jammu and Kashmir are the worst enemies of the people here. They may be earning money while doing so but that money is being earned at the cost of the health and lives of local youth. It is high time that people wake up to this disaster in the making and fight the battle against drug trafficking. Religious leaders, particularly the Imams of Masjids can play a vital role 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.