Drug terror comes to haunt J&K; murky trade touches Rs. 1000 crore annually

: From children of rich and affluent families including sons and daughters of some police officers to those belonging to the downtrodden sections of society, drug mafia has spread its tentacles all over Jammu and Kashmir.

If sources are to be believed, it is now a Rs. 1000 crore rich industry spread almost in all the districts of Jammu and Kashmir including Ladakh. They added that it is the callous and unprofessional approach of Jammu and Kashmir Police (JKP) because of which this menace has managed to engulf whole of the state and reached even Ladakh.

Sources told Newspoint that there has been an increase in the cases related to drug addiction mostly among school/college-going students, who are either dropouts or have failed. It is undoubtedly a disturbing development. They added that like other cities in the country, Jammu, too, is grappling with the menace of ever-increasing drug use among the youth.

More shocking is the fact that school-going children here have become the target of an interstate drug mafia. Sources said that the drug is gifted to these children but when these kids get addicted to these intoxicants, the drug suppliers charge a huge sum from these kids. He added that the drug dealers, target children from well-to-do families as these kids can spend huge sum on the contraband. Most of the drug dealers are young children belonging to middle class and poor families.

Sources disclosed that even these drug dealers are addicts and hence, to purchase drug for themselves, they target children from well-to-do families. They said that when the kids from these well-to-do families get addicted to these drugs, these dealers charge them heavily. Sources further said that police usually arrests the conduits and has hardly managed to arrest the kingpins of this drug mafia.

They said that since drug mafia involves money in crores, involvement of police officials especially the junior rung cannot be ruled out. They further said that the conduits charge these kids something from Rs 6,000 to Rs 10,000 for each gram of drug they sell to these kids. Sources added that police knows well from where the drug is coming but prefers picking up those who are middleman and not the kingpins for the reasons best known to them.

They said that first sign of deep penetration of drug mafia was the death of a girl identified as Divya Manhas who died due to overdose of drugs.  Jammu police had then claimed to have arrested the three accused involved in the death of Divya and supply of drugs to youth in Jammu region but the inquiry was never concluded and the ring masters were never arrested.  The kingpins remain untraded even to this day. Not even one kingpin has been arrested and put behind the bars.

Sources further said that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has asked the police to crack whip on drug peddlers. “Don’t come with stories. I want action on all fronts. Let drug-peddlers and those who are the kingpins of this ugly business feel the heat,” Mehbooba said while chairing a high-level meeting of DCs and SSPs of Jammu Division. Mehbooba Mufti directed SSPs to deal effectively with crimes, especially youth falling prey to scourge of drugs.

According to a report available with Newspoint Bureau, around 5,574 kilograms of cannabis and its derivatives, 40,000 bottles and 37,000 tablets of psychotropic prescription drugs were seized in 2015 inj Jammu region. It adds that 1,000 kilograms of cannabis and its derivatives, 115 kilograms of brown sugar and about 1,600 bottles and 14,000 tablets of psychotropic prescription drugs were recovered by police in Kashmir Zone.

Police have registered 113 cases of NDPS Act and arrested 147 persons in 2014 so far this year, says the reports. How serious the menace reflects from the fact that over 1000 suspected drug peddlers have been arrested since last year. While 504 persons were arrested in the year 2015, the number of those arrested for their alleged involvement in the sale of Narcotic substances and psychotropic substances was 542 in the year 2014.

Report maintains that 384 cases under NDPS were registered in the year 2015 this year compared to 398 last year. Police has filed charge-sheet in the court of law against 513 persons in 2014 and 277 in the year 2015. Despite having filed charge-sheet against 513 persons, only two persons were convicted in the Kashmir region in year 2015 and 1 in year 2014. Capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar accounted for most of the arrests with 185 peddlers arrested in winter capital and 134 in the summer capital.

Kashmir division which includes two districts of Leh and Kargil in Ladakh region witnessed slightly higher number of those arrests for illicit activity compared to 10 districts of Jammu region. Ladakh region where there was not even trace of drugs few years ago too witnessed arrest of four persons in connection with drug peddling.

In Kashmir region, the report says that 100 peddlers were arrested in Baramulla followed by 91 in Pulwama, 67 in Kulgam, 55 in Anantnag, 37 in Shopian, 34 in Bandipora, 25 in Kupwara, 19 in Budgam and 15 in Ganderbal since last year. Similarly in Jammu region, 55 drug peddlers were arrested from Udhampur district followed by 51 in Reasi, 42 Ramban, 32 Kathua, 30 Rajouri, 28 Doda, 20 in Samba, 14 Poonch and 11 Kishtwar, says the report.

On being asked, HOD Cardiology Dr. Sushil Sharma said that there are many reasons for the incidence of substance usage among the youth. “Lack of quality relationship between parents and their wards is one of them. As a result, the parents are completely unaware of the activities of their wards. This communication gap is a contributory factor which eventually paves the way for youngsters to opt for drugs consumption to ease their frustration,” Dr. Sushil said.

He added that it is difficult to find out the exact figure like how many cases have been registered in the hospital, but certainly they have increase manifold, especially among teens (school-going children) and young boys in their early 20s (college-going students). As far as cases of drug abuse among young girls is concerned certainly there are not many as compared to boys.



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