Government’s drive against drug racket in Assam: The drug racket in NORTH EAST

ASSAM STARTED A TWO DAY DRIVE TODAY TO BURN DRUGS WORTH RS. 163 CRORES IN PUBLIC WHICH WERE CONFISCATED IN THE LAST TWO MONTHS . When Himanta Biswa Sarma was sworned in as the Chief minister of Assam , he started taking strict actions to destroy the drug racket in Assam. Within two months, the state police had seized 18.82 kg of heroin, 7944.72 kg cannabis, 67,371 bottles of cough syrup, 12,70,394 numbers of unprescribed sedative tablets, 1.93 kg of morphine, 3 kg methamphetamine and 3,313 kg of opium , all of which worth rupees 163 crores. Sadly, this is just the 20 – 30% of the total narcotics market in Assam which is estimated to worth between 2000- 3000 crores in Indian currency. Under the drive which started today, a segment of the seized drugs was burnt at Diphu and Golaghot while the remaining drugs will be burnt tomorrow in Nagaon and Hojai. The public burning is to drive home the clear message of Assam’s zero tolerance over drugs.

The massive drug racket is not only limited till Assam but is spread in the entire country with the North Eastern states and North Western states providing a gateway linking the country to the Global narcotics industry. This blog will give you the reasons so as to why North East became the hub of drugs which destroys millions of lives.

Why has North East become the hub of drugs

India’ s strategic position places it between the GOLDEN CRESCENT ( Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran) on the North western side and the infamous Golden Triangle (Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos) on the northeast which are two of the largest sources of illicit drugs in South East Asia. The Golden Triangle is Asia’s main opium producing area and serves as the oldest narcotics supply route to Europe and North America.

The Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh,bNagaland, Mizoram and Manipur shares its border with Myanmar which serves as an entry way of drugs in India through the Eastern side .Drugs produced in the ‘Golden Triangle’ enter India through Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland from Bhamo, Lashio, and Mandalay in Myanmar. The route bifurcates and one channel moves northwards through Moreh in Manipur while other moves southwards to enter Champai in Mizoram. Moreh (Manipur), Champai (Mizoram), Dimapur (Nagaland), and Guwahati (Assam) have become the nucleus of drug trafficking industry in India’s northeast.3

The Indo-Myanmar border is guarded by the Assam Rifles (AR), a paramilitary force, under the operational control of Indian Army’s Eastern Command which also serves as an route for the supply of the contaband items. The traffickers chooses the short time when the Army is off the shift or is on rounds to supply the drugs. The information about the army timings is provide by the locals who sympathize by the criminals many of whom are the part of the local terrorist groups of the North East. Further due to friendly Indo- Myanmar relations , The border is not permanently sealed allowing some free movement between the borders for the limited time period in a day which again enables the transfer of drugs as the traffickers develop smart ways to avoid the scanning of their items containing drugs.

Moreover, poor state of education, unemployment, poverty, increasing spread of HIV/AIDS, ethnic conflicts are some of the issues faced here. Children are forcefully used as drug carriers in promise of better livelihood. These issues have seldom featured in policies of successive governments. Criminals use this vulnerability of local population and manipulate their minds into joining criminal ranks. Such fragile situation along the India-Myanmar border jeopardizes the region into becoming a hub of drug trafficking.

The Chief Minister of Assam in a statement said that he has provided full liberty to the police forces to arrest the drug traffickers which also involves the use of gun to stop the trafficker from running or in the act of self defense if the trafficker counter attacks. The shooting of traffickers has invoked much criticism but Sarma said he is not going to compromised on the safety of his officers.

Further drugs were also used for payment by the criminals in exchange of smuggled arms, fake currency and other prohibited items thus causing social problems and crimes. The CM also mentioned that it was important to do this in order to save Assam from being another “Udta Punjab” (reference to the bollywood movie showing drug racket in Punjab).

The action taken by Assam government is appreciable . Only if all the border states work in tandem with each other and take strict actions, only then we can cease the entry of drugs in India and save lakhs of youths from spoiling their lives under its influence.

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