“ There is nothing new in world except the history you do not know.” – Harry Truman

What next? Afghanistan or Mexico style “private armies”?

Drug trade flourishing in Kashmir

Wasim Khalid (Rising Kashmir)

Srinagar: Signifying the flourishing of drug trade in Kashmir valley, police said it recovered drugs worth 69 lakh from peddlers in 2009 and arrested 36 people after recovering huge quantities of cannabis, poppy, poppy straw from them. Besides, this year, police also destroyed Bhang cultivated over 20,000 kanal of land.

According to police statistics, Bhang is being cultivated over more than 21,000 kanal of land, especially in south Kashmir’s Islamabad and Pulwama districts. A small portion of this was destroyed in Budgam district.

Apart from that, police claimed to have recovered 40 bags, 23 quintals and 23 kg of poppy this year while 11 accused, involved in the trade, were also arrested.

Police seized 17 kg cannabis, 42 charas sticks and arrested 14 accused involved in the trade from various locations. Police also seized vehicles used by drug peddlers to smuggle the cannabis.

Approximately, 688 kg and 90 bags of poppy straw were recovered from different persons this year. Police arrested 11 persons and seized a truck and a Tata Sumo vehicle used by the peddlers to transport the addictive substance.

Besides, police recovered 74 bottles of illegal liquor and arrested one person. “The grass and liqor seized thus amounts to worth 69 lakh,” a police official said. Meanwhile, police said they would continue with their drive against the drug trade.

“We would continue to pursue the people who cultivate or are involved in any trade related to cannabis and poppy,” Inspector General of Police Kashmir, Farooq Ahmad told Rising Kashmir. “We want to make our society drug-free.”

He said after they destroyed the cannabis and poppy fields, the residents of Pulwama also joined the drive.

“We started awareness campaign, roped in Imams in Pulwama. They informed people about the ill-effects of drugs,” Ahmad said. “They joined police and destroyed thousands of kanal of land used for Bhang cultivation. For us it was a really significant development.”

However, he said, people in Bijbehara and adjoining areas were not cooperating. “We are following a strategy of chasing peddlers and arresting them under NDPS act,” Ahmad said.

He said people get in drug trade as they mint huge money from it.

“Apart from trading cannabis and poppy here, peddlers are also sending it outside the state,” the IG said. “We are tightening the noose on them.”

Ahmad rued that there were no drug addiction centres in the Valley to cure addicts. “Police have one drug-de-addiction centre. It can accommodate limited patients,” he said. “The government should set up a 20-bed drug de-addiction centre in every district to treat these patients.”