By : Nitesh Pandey, Asiapost Exclusive
While most of us are familiar with the illicit drug abuse in Punjab and Maharashtra, what we might not know is that the north-eastern part of our country suffers a similar fate. The close proximity to the notorious ‘Golden Triangle’ has made these states including Assam vulnerable to drug trafficking and substance abuse.
Although parts of Assam, particularly Guwahati, have long been recognized as the nucleus of this drug trafficking industry in India’s North-East, the shift from being used as a transit pointby the drug mafia to creating an active market is a relatively new development. This has made the populace of Assam, especially the youth, fall prey to addiction and abuse of drugs. Police records show a giant leap in the number of such cases in the last decade and although regular efforts have been made by the Assam Police in collaboration with the Assam government to curb these illegal activities, forging a renewed spirit has made all the difference.
This much needed push to free the state from illegal drug activity has been provided by the Chief Minister, Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, who was sworn in less than 50 days ago. He is determined to put an end to this menace and has launched a ‘war on drugs’ which has proved to be quite successful. Under his administration, Assam has adopted a ‘Zero Tolerance Policy’ against drugs and great strides have been made in the crackdown on narcotics by the Police.
According to police data, 659 cases have been registered and 1,142 arrests made under Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Actfrom May 10 to June 22. So far, 16.29 kg Heroin, 6,687.253 kg Ganja, 9.539 kg Opium, 57,591 bottles of cough syrup, 6,42,447 YABA/WY Tablets (YABA is a red coloured pill with WY imprinted on it. It is made up of caffeine and methamphetamine and is also known as Madness drug or Nazi Speed), 1.9292 kg Morphine and 369 kg Poppy straw have been confiscated along with 79,91,060 INR, 13,600 in foreign currency and 6,800 fake currency notes. Explaining the reason for their recent success as opposed to earlier efforts, Director General of Police (DGP) of Assam, Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, said that the focus was now on the grassroots instead of supply lines.
In what has been described by him as a “major breakthrough against supply chain network with narco-terror angle”, CM Himanta Biswa Sarma praised the Assam Police for arresting Th. Paone alias Didi (of Dimapur), one of the key suppliers of Heroin to Assam, with 7 crores worth of no. 4 Heroin in Karbi Anglong. On the flip side, a home guard, Borsing Bey who has been hailed as the “Pride of Assam” by the CM for refusing a bribe by drug dealers and helping recover 3 kg of crystal meth has been rewarded with 1 lakh and has been appointed a Constable in Assam Police for his “exemplary deed”..
In addition to the well- known physiological effects that deteriorate a person’s physical and mental health, prolonged drug abuse has also been noted to cause behavioral changes, a combination of which crushes their overall spirit. But the impact of this abuse ripples far from the addict and spills over to families in particular and society as a whole. Illicit drug activity in any state can result in increase in domestic abuse and violence, lead to poverty and impoverishment and ruin the chances of its youth to have a better future. For these reasons and many more, the will-power and boldness shown by Assam under Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in their fight against drugs sets precedent for the rest of the country to follow.