Buoy up the battle


Faleen Wani

CONSIDERING that narcotic smuggling from across the Border into this side of Jammu and Kashmir has alarming dimensions, the response from the civil administration, as observed, is far from substantial and appropriate.

Narcotic trade, and its evident connection to the terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir need no investigations. Narcotic channels are no different from the terrorists’ networking. The focus of terror organisations from across the Border has really shifted to narcotics. Since Pakistan is in deep political and economic crisis, and the administration here in India has blocked the hawala and money laundering channels to a great extent, narcotics remains the only viable funding source for terrorist organisations. There are instances where terrorists sitting across the Border manage to send consignments to their relatives living on this side, close to the LoC. The police and security forces have booked many such people in the frontier district of Kupwara in North Kashmir under the Narcotic Drugs and Pyschotropic Substances Act (NDPS).

  • Easy money, big money

Drug smuggling and trafficking are big money

spinners and too alluring a bait for the vulnerable and especially those struggling with finances. A packet of narcotics dropped near the LoC has a market value of just Rs 50,000. But if it reaches the designated person, just a few hundred meters away from the dropping site, the value of the packet goes up to Rs 5 lakh or more. And if the same packet is safely transported somewhere close to district headquarters, say Poonch or Kupwara, the value jumps to Rs 25 to Rs 50 lakh; and it goes to a whopping Rs 1 crore and beyond when it reaches the market. This is why, people are readily available to the syndicate for the easy and the massive money.

The steep rise in narco-smuggling from across the border was anticipated following the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban. Huge consignments of narcotics have been seized along the LoC right from Nowshera sector in Rajouri district up to the Keran sector in Kupwara district in North Kashmir. The seizure of huge consignments of narcotics along the LoC gives us an idea about the quantity which has not caught the bull’s eye and gone to the designated assets. Narco-terrorism is a reality and is a great challenge to the security of the State, particularly when the society continues to stay mute at the alarming levels of drug-trafficking and drug-addiction.

  • Dangerous proportions

A few modules which the Jammu and Kashmir police and the Army have successfully cracked, suggest that the narcotic smuggling in Jammu and Kashmir is now in the hands of the international syndicate. In fact, people in the civil and the military establishments hesitantly admit that the narcotic smuggling in Jammu and Kashmir is handled by the international syndicate. So far, there has been an admission that narcotic smugglers from Punjab are very much involved in the trafficking of narcotics in Jammu and Kashmir. For some people in the administration, it’s an interstate syndicate. They, however, ignore the fact that narcotics reaches the LoC on this side through a network running from Afghanistan to Pakistan and beyond, and on this side, the network is a hydra-headed monster as it includes the ruthless smugglers from Punjab and the terrorist commanders of various outfits.

  • Campaigns aren’t enough

People in the administrative hierarchy are deeply concerned about the situation that has emerged owing to the alarming levels of drug-trafficking and drug abuse. Campaigns and many other programs have been launched by the government, designed to create awareness among the masses. However, a substantial, rather an effective response to narco-terrorism is still not seen. The crucial question that needs to be tackled is – how to stop the inflow and break the networks. Jammu and Kashmir has a department of narcotics which is almost non-existent on ground. Let us presume that narcotics is dropped through drones on this side of LoC anywhere in Karen, Tangdar or Machil sector, close to the LoC  and let us presume that the Army could not spot it owing to the fact that there are vast and dense forests, deep valleys and high mountains which cannot be manned. So where is the second line of defense? How can you stop it from reaching the local assets or the international market? There is absolutely no deterrent in place which could at least help in partially blocking the transportation!


  • Let the Army in & support the police

The only force that has the capability and the manpower to deal effectively with such a challenging situation could be the Army. But it has no jurisdiction whatsoever in tracking and targetting the narcotic networking down in the planes. Under such a situation, it is the Jammu and Kashmir police who have to command and manage the operation against narcotics. The war against narcotic terrorism is more crucial than the war against terrorism and the Jammu and Kashmir police are literally alone in this battle. We need to understand the dynamics. In the fight against terrorism, the Jammu and Kashmir police are just one entity whereas in the fight against narco-terrorism, they fight a lone battle. There has to be a comprehensive plan in place in order to be effective and successful.


  • Suggestions, if we may

In the frontier districts of Bandipora, Kupwara, Baramulla in the Kashmir valley and Poonch and Rajori districts to the south of Peerpanchal, the Special Operations Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir police could be re-designed as the Anti Narcotics Group (ANG). ANG could be equipped with technical and software innovations for effectiveness. As there are common threads between handlers of narcotics and terrorism, the SOG has expertise in dealing with the terror operatives. This gives an edge to the force and if empowered, it could be very effective in dealing with narco-terrorism. The officers with the background of having carried out such operations could be given the charge in each district. They have mastered the art of creating human assets. The technical support, together with a network of human intelligence, could provide an effective deterrent to narco-terrorism. This is just an idea. The technicalities have to be worked out by the department, of course.

And finally, the authorities at the highest level, if aware of the consequences of narco-terrorism should see how the Army could be involved to face the challenge. What is important is to know if the government from Srinagar to New Delhi is conscious of the spillover or not; and of there is will and determination to give appropriate response to narco-terrorism. The Nasha Mukht Abhiyaan is designed for addicts. But you have to have an all-encompassing response to narco-terrorism.



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