Why no follow up on drug seizures ? Go for the big guns
The War on Drugs should be much more than a slogan, a war cry, and this is where the Government would seriously need to think how to take this slogan a notch or two or even three higher. And the first step is to be as transparent as possible in any matter related to drugs. As repeatedly pointed out in this column, how many druglords or the big guns have been hauled up, convicted and punished as per the law of the land ? This is a question which is very relevant. It has become a routine matter for the newspapers published from Imphal and other district headquarters of Manipur to carry reports on so and so persons apprehended with so much of drugs on their persons, but the significant part is, everything seems to come to a full stop after this. Common sense says that the persons picked up from the roads or from the Imphal-Moreh highway can best be couriers, and there are big guns standing behind them, financing the whole operation, right from procuring the drugs from the manufacturing units from across the border or even from within the State and putting them onboard vehicles meant to go beyond the borders of Manipur and to other parts of the country. Or are the pushers or couriers such tough nuts that they refuse to divulge the identity of the person/s behind the racket ? It could also mean that the pushers may not exactly know the identity of the kingpin behind the racket, much in line with what one sees in Bollywood and even Hollywood flicks, but at least netting them is a beginning and the logical thing would be to follow up on the catch and see how the big fishes may be netted. So far this has not happened, save for the infamous Lhukhosei Zou who was released on bail by the Court for lack of evidence. The War on Drugs is just the beginning and one hopes that the beginning is taken to its next logical step. This is all that more pertinent given the fact that quite a number of drug manufacturing units have been busted by the police in the recent past. As pointed out in an earlier commentary here, the people held while busting the drug manufacturing units can at best be just runners, employed to run the units and cannot be the mastermind. It will take reach and influence, not to speak of money and muscle power to set up such units in Manipur and the natural question is, what has happened after the units were busted ? Why has no one heard of any further arrest being made ? A conspiracy of silence or a case of the Government running into a dead wall ? This is a question which only the Government can answer and answer, it should, if the War on Drugs is to have greater substance in the eyes and ears of the people. Everyone knows the impact of drugs on the youngsters and how it has impacted on the lives of numerous families in Manipur and clearly this should more than say there is a big underground conglomerate. It would not be surprising if there exists a sort of a syndicate of drug kingpins, who have the reach and the influence to keep many mum.
Quite a large number of drug consignments originating from Manipur have also been seized at Assam and even Meghalaya and herein lies the reach and influence of the drug kingpins. What are the statuses of the drugs consignments seized in the neighbouring States ? It would help if the State Government can spell this out to the public. It is to give more teeth to the much publicised War on Drugs campaign of the Government that the All Manipur Music Association has decided to chip in with their bit and give more teeth to the drive with their music driven messages. This is one constructive move and one hopes that the Government extend whatever assistance it can to make the campaign against drugs all that more meaningful. Rope in the service of others too. Why not encourage films and Shumang Leelas to carry a similar message ? This is one example that comes to mind and the point is the Government will need to do more than the slogan War on Drugs. The drug menace is not a recent development and many who are now well into their middle age will have stories of how they have seen some of their friends and relatives succumbing to drug overdose and other ailments related to drug abuse. This is a fact and to give more teeth to the anti-drug campaign, it would help for the Government to go back thirty or even forty years back and see how drug abuse began to spread. Go back to the past to battle the present is a line that comes to mind.