The High That Kills

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The High That Kills

Rajouri SSP, DDC Chairman express concern regarding drug abuse in the area

Mareaya Fayaz

The movie The Basket Ball Diaries, one of my favourites, tells the story of high school basketball

star who under pressure develops an appetite for heroin. The addiction snatches his dreams

and hopes. The basketball court gets replaced with dirty and mean streets where the once star

player and his friends scrounge, steal and prostitute themselves for drugs.

I remember the first time I watched the movie Udta Punjab, which showcased the problem of

drug abuse among the youth of Punjab. It showed a rock star, played by Shahid Kapoor,

endorsing drugs. These movies reflect the truth. The people of Jammu and Kashmir have been

battling these truths for some years.

Jammu and Kashmir is facing the brunt of narco-terrorism. JK Police, the Army, the para military

forces – all of them have declared war over drugs. But fighting this war is difficult for them

because of the high level of involvement of people. There is also lack of support from people,

who wish to earn easy money by helping the drug lords. Kashmir Central has highlighted the

abuse of narcotics in the area of Kashmir. I decided to write on the problem of narcotic abuse in

the area of Pir Panjal. It is a matter of alarm that drug abuse in this area is increasing.

Speaking to me about the problem of drug abuse, SSP Rajouri Mr Aslam Chowdhary said that

this year, 15 cases have been registered regarding drug abuse. The recoveries that have been

made include 5-6 kilograms heroin, 300 tablets, 4 kilograms bhang, about 80 kilograms of other

drugs and Rs 2 lakh in cash from the drug peddlers.

Efforts To Trace Backward, Forward Linkages

The SSP informed that last year, 24 cases of drug abuse had been registered in the area under

his jurisdiction. Mr Chowdhary informed that the police face more problems in areas near LOC

namely Nowshera and Naam. But the problem is not restricted to these areas. The police

receive complaints from Rajouri main city and Manjakote regarding drug peddling.

Mr Chowdhary said there is possibility that these drugs are brought from across the LOC. Last

year, police had filed a case where the supplier was supplying drugs into Punjab. He explained

that after the police catch a peddler, the objective is to identify the forward and backward links

in the trade – where they are coming from, and where they shall be supplied.

Mr Chowdhary informed that police have been able to trace the backward links in some cases,

but forward links are difficult to track. He added that deliver drugs to users in low quantities,

whereby it becomes difficult to register the case. SSP Chowdhary said that recently, a

background link was found but the person is absconding, so the police is looking for him. JKP

has launched a helpline to help the people who are suffering from drug addiction. The SSP said

that the police have declared a zero tolerance policy against drugs.

When asked about the rehabilitation centers, the SSP said that one center has been just started

by the administration. Earlier, there was no center for drug de addiction in Rajouri. A ward had

been allocated for drug de-addiction in the district hospital, but no Psychiatrist was posted

there. Now a Psychiatrist has also been posted.

‘Problem Has Tendency To Increase’

SSP Chowdhary said that no death has been reported in Rajouri caused by substance abuse. He

said that the scale of drug abuse is low, but the problem exists and has a tendency to increase.

He said that when the police catch drug addict, efforts are made to involve his or her family.

The police said that the support of the family is sought so that the police may be able to draw

the person out of the vicious cycle.

The SSP said that most peddlers are drug addicts. A problem faced by the police is that it is

difficult to keep such peddlers in custody. He informed that these persons get fits if they don’t

get their supply of drugs. This may lead to their death in custody, and then the police are

accused of custodial killing.

The SSP said that a trend has been witnessed among drugs users. As soon as they are unable to

get money from the family for drugs, they start stealing. Mr Chowdhary discussed a recent case

where they arrested a youth for stealing money through an ATM using someone else’s card. H

was a drug addict and used to spend all the stolen money on the purchase of drugs.

The SSP said that falling prey to drug addiction is not limited to a particular class or gender.

People from rich as well as poor families fall prey to drugs. They are both suppliers and users.

He said that men as well as women are found involved in drug abuse, and in the supply of

drugs.

The SSP informed that recently, police arrested a man named Haroon Rashid for supplying

drugs with help of his wife. Both are drug addicts too. They have been arrested. The SSP said

that people get lured into the drugs business because they think that they are getting a huge

amount of money for little work. They do not realize the damage they are doing to the society,

and that the law will catch up with them. The youth get addicted to drugs due to peer pressure

or because they think it is stylish and trendy to consume drugs. Bringing them back from drug

abuse is difficult but not impossible, said the SSP.

DDC Chairman Rajouri Dissatisfied With Police Role To Fight Drug Abuse

Advoate Chowdhary Naseem Liaqat Says Police Don’t File Technically Sound Cases Under NDPS

Act, Accused Get Acquitted Easily

Mareaya Fayaz

I spoke to District Development Council (DDC) Chairman Rajouri, Advoate Chowdhary Naseem

Liaqat on this issue. Mr Liaqat said that police are not working responsibly and efficiently in

fighting drug abuse. He said that when the police file a challan under The Narcotic Drugs and

Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, they deliberately leave many lacunas so that the accused

can get away.

Mr Liaqat said that cases registered under NDPS Act have to be technically sound. In many

cases, the police do not have the training to minutely analyze the offense and register the case

properly. As a result, the accused are able to secure acquittal.

The DDC Chairman highlighted that if the police register a case which is technically sound,

conviction rates will increase. This will act s a deterrent. It will send the right message to the

society, and will lead to lower cases of drug abuse. Mr Liaqat expressed regret that for the sake

of convenience, police don’t go into the details regarding a case.

Mr Liaqat also accused the police of not tracing the sources of drugs supply. He said that proper

identification of the source is very important part of the investigation. The DDC Chairman

highlighted that the public must also play a positive and pro-active role to battle the problem of

drug addiction. He said that people must constantly engage with the youth so that they are

aware of the bad influence of drugs. He said that involving the youth in sports activities was a

highly meaningful way of keeping them occupied and away from the scourge of drugs.

The DDC Chairman said that the area faces a huge problem of unemployment. This is one of the

reasons why the youth turn towards drugs, he said. Mr Liaqat emphasized that parents play a

major role in bringing back the youth from the disease of addiction. He said that it was very

important that parents are counseled about the problem of drug addiction.

‘High Conviction Rate, Higher Deterrent For Drug Peddlers’

Talking about the rehabilitation of the youth who are addicted to drugs, Mr Liaqat said that

recently, he met the DIG to discuss the importance of setting up rehabilitation centers for the

recovery of such patients. “The police have a very important role to play in stopping the

menace of drug abuse. Police should be given special training to combat drug menace. A special

wing of police should be created and trained to deal with these issues. They should also be

trained regarding the technicalities of filing these cases. There is 100 per cent likelihood of

conviction if the police file the case properly. Only then it shall have a deterrent effect,” said Mr

Liaqat.

He added that it was unfortunate that currently, there is 95% acquittal rate in these cases. “This

is the reason that when a peddler is arrested, he knows that after spending some time in jail, he

shall be out soon. If the police file a strong case against him under the NDPS Act, he may not be

acquitted. If the investigation is technically sound, it is not easy to get acquittal. So the main

role is that of the police. Easy money is one of the reasons for people to get into the business of

drugs. Another challenge is that since they know they shall be acquitted soon, they continue to

indulge in drug peddling,” said the DDC Chairman.

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