The Jammu and Kashmir police is struggling to control the growing menace of narcotics smuggling in the state as all the state’s three regions—Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh—are witnessing “lucrative trade” by the drugs smugglers.
A senior police officer told The Sunday Guardian that after the recent arrest of some drug peddlers, they came to know that drugs were being smuggled to Ladakh, especially to Leh, and to neighbouring Himachal Pradesh. “They have developed huge networks and are trying to sell drugs in the tourist hubs of the country,” said the official.
Recently, state director general of police S.P. Vaid told the media at a police de addiction centre that 25-30% of the drugs were coming from neighbouring Punjab, while 75% were being smuggled from outside the border to fund militancy related activities. He said that recently the police booked about a dozen of drug smugglers under the Public Safety Act. He asked civil society and the judiciary to come to the aid of the police to eradicate this menace.
Giving details of the narcotic smugglers, IGP Kashmir range, Muneer Khan told The Sunday Guardian that they have busted five active gangs of drug peddlers both in Jammu and in the Kashmir valley.
“We have made a haul of narcotics during our raids to the tune of about Rs 500 crore in the international market,” Khan said. Giving further details, he said that in the previous month the police seized 70 kg of fine quality heroin in the Kashmir valley and arrested all the gang members.
Khan and his police chief S.P. Vaid maintain that most of the drugs, including heroin, were being smuggled from Pakistan to fund militancy.
In the recent past in Baramulla district, five drug peddlers were booked under PSA by the police, while in Shopian, Kulgam and Anatnag districts, six persons were booked under the same Act for carrying out drug smuggling. Many police officers rue that most of these smugglers come out soon as the courts grant them bail. They contended that the bailed smugglers again indulge in these activities again.
Director General of Police, S.P. Vaid expressed similar sentiments and said that in our society such people, who are out to destroy our young generation, should neither get a lawyer to defend themselves nor should judges let them go off. Meanwhile, reports from the Ladakh region said that acting on the leads from police in Kashmir, the police there has increased vigil on the Leh market to curb the drug menace in the town. There are reports that heroin and other drugs were being sold to tourists in the Leh market at different food joints.