Is Pakistan repeating its Punjab drug push strategy in Kashmir? It certainly appears so. Drug traffickers are out to destroy Kashmir’s generation-next by selling poison to it at the behest of Pakistan, which wants to enslave the youngsters for fighting its proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir.
The drug trafficking in Kashmir has emerged as one of the biggest challenges for the law enforcing agencies and the administration.
Not a single day passes without the J&K Police seizing narcotic drugs and arresting the peddlers, who are operating in every district of the Valley.
The drug trade in Kashmir is nothing new. It has been thriving for many years as the former political regimes didn’t pay much attention towards curbing this menace. The substance abuse in Kashmir has turned into a monster which is out to devour the youngsters.
In the first nine months of 2022, the divisional administration in Kashmir issued 106 detention orders under Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act, 1988, (PIT-NDPS) and efforts are on to save youngsters from falling into the trap of drug peddlers and traffickers.
NCRB Report reveals 35 per cent increase
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report on drug abuse in Jammu and Kashmir released in September 2022 revealed an increase by 35 per cent in drug abuse cases in 2021 as compared to the cases registered in 2020.
The NCRB report stated that 1,222 cases under NDPS, 1985 act were registered in J&K in 2020, however, the number increased to 1,681 in 2021.
As per the figures, among the 1,222 cases registered in 2020, 289 cases were those where a convict was found to be in possession of drugs for personal use or consumption while 933 cases were found to be in possession of drugs for trafficking.
In Kashmir, there has been a spate of unexplained, sudden deaths due to overdose of drugs but in most cases, the families don’t believe it. Even hospitals certify these deaths as caused by cardiac arrest to save the deceased’s kin from ostracism.
J&K Police Chief exposes Pak
Soon after the abrogation of Article 370, a temporary provision in the Constitution of India, J&K Police Chief, Dilbag Singh in September 2019, had stated that majority of the drugs pumped into Jammu and Kashmir came from Pakistan to finance terror activities.
Singh had revealed that sending drugs into Kashmir was a part of Pakistan’s plan to turn Kashmir’s generation-next into drug addicts so that they could be used as tools to keep the pot boiling.
MHA takes serious note
After August 5, 2019 — when the Centre abrogated J&K’s special status and divided it into two Union Territories — the security agencies cracked a whip on drug traffickers as the Union Home Ministry led by Amit Shah passed on clear cut directions to the law enforcing agencies to wipe out ‘narco terrorism” from Kashmir.
Politicians, who ruled J&K till 2108, were aware of the ground situation as the security agencies had time and again briefed them about the entrenched corridor for illegally routing drugs from Pakistan to Kashmir and from there to the rest of India. But the former rulers didn’t pay much attention towards the red-flags raised by the security agencies.
Keran village in frontier district of Kupwara used to serve as the conduit for drug racketeers. From Keran, the consignments reached Rajouri border and then Jammu from there they were sent to other states.
In 2020, Jammu and Kashmir Police seized 36.08 kilograms of pure heroin and 49.7 kilograms of brown sugar from different parts of Kashmir.
In September 2021, a charge sheet filed by National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a narco-terrorism case had revealed that operatives of terror outfits such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen were behind the drug trade in Jammu and Kashmir.
J&K natives used as tools
Besides sending guns, bombs and grenades, Pakistan has been exporting drugs into J&K. It just pretends to be a sympathizer of people of Kashmir but the fact is that it’s the biggest enemy of J&K people.
Pakistan has used J&K natives as its instruments to fight the proxy war which it launched in 1990 by sending the gun-toting terrorists into Kashmir. Since then terrorist handlers have done everything to destabilize J&K.
Government acts swiftly
During the past three years scenario in J&K has changed as the government has acted swiftly against the terrorists and their handlers. The security forces have been given clear cut instructions to wipe out all forms of terrorism, including narco-terrorism, from Jammu and Kashmir.
A recent survey conducted by Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (IMHNS), Government Medical College, Srinagar, in collaboration with the Social Welfare Department and Directorate of Health Service Kashmir in 10 districts across Kashmir had revealed that at least 2.8 per cent of the total population in the Valley has been substance users, with 52,404 dependent on drugs currently.
The survey had claimed that approximately 95 per cent are heroin users and the average age of initiation of heroin in Kashmir is 22-years.
The survey had also stated that substance use was seen majorly in the unemployed population, which was little over 25.2 per cent of the total population in Kashmir and the most commonly used psychoactive substance in every district of Kashmir is Opioids.
The Army, police and other government departments have been putting in relentless efforts to help the youth to give up drug addiction. Many drug de addiction centers have been set up across the Valley to change the lives of substance abusers.
Under Nasha Mukt Bharat scheme funds have been allocated to various departments to identify the substance abusers so that they could be treated and pulled out from the death trap which they have been put in by the drug traffickers, supported and sponsored by Pakistan.
CNN-News 18 last month had reported that Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed a 2,000 per cent spike in cases of drug abuse. It had stated that in 2016, the Oral Substitution Therapy Centre (OST) at the Government Medical College, Srinagar, recorded 489 patients, while the number crossed the 10,000-mark in 2021.
Common man has a role
The conspiracy hatched by Pakistan to turn Kashmir into a haven for drug addicts has shattered the myth that Pakistan is a well wisher and a sympathizer of J&K people. A common man in J&K needs to understand that security forces and administration alone cannot fight this threat.
Every J&K denizen would have to contribute his bit in the war against ‘narco-terrorism.”
Kashmiri society has to wake up and realize how its young generation is falling into the pit of disaster from which it can never emerge again. It’s the duty of the people to save their children from this poison in circulation.
J&K’s civil society has to play a major role. From parents to religious clerics, everyone has to come forward and send a message to drug traffickers that they won’t be allowed to succeed in their nefarious designs. Law enforcing agencies are maintaining a strict vigil and administration is rendering all the possible support but the terrorism from J&K cannot be wiped out fully till the “narco-terrorism” ends.