Backing the War on Drugs call Senapati, Ukhrul in the lead
Taking the community along or rather the community stretching out its hand to be part of the campaign against drugs, giving more teeth to the War on Drugs slogan coined by the BJP led Government. Surely a shot in the arm of the Chief Minister and one hopes that the Government is able to capitalise on this and give the cutting edge definition to the understanding of War on Drugs. This is important for remember just two days after the Poumai community under the Poumai Naga Union (PNU) declared that all areas coming under the PNU will be a drug free zone, two persons from Manipur were arrested in Assam while transporting drugs worth about Rs 15 crore. On the same day that the huge consignment of drugs was seized at Assam, came the news that the Tangkhul community too had joined the war against drugs and declared in the presence of the Chief Minister that areas inhabited by the Tangkhul community would be free of all drug related activities including poppy plantation. That the drug free zone declaration was submitted to the Chief Minister by leaders of the Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL), Tangkhul Shanao Long (TSL), Tangkhul Wungao Long (TWL) and Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong (TKS) suggests that the anti-drug campaign in Ukhrul and Kamjong districts has got off on the right note and one only hopes that this spirit too spreads to other districts and communities. The Poumai Naga Union is also believed to be the biggest civil society organisation of the Poumai tribe and these developments bear the unmistakable stamp of society backing the campaign. How the Government capitalises on the hands of co-operation extended by these apex bodies remains to be seen but already a powerful and telling statement has been delivered and this matters a lot. The law enforcing agencies too need to take a leaf or two out of the spirit demonstrated by these civil society organisations and perhaps they may start doing this by demonstrating their intent of purpose. Being in the media it is not uncommon to see statements issued by the different agencies, including the Assam Rifles from ‘forgetting’ to name the people from whom consignments of drugs have been recovered. Or if revealing the identity/ties of the people pulled up could jeopardise the investigation of the case, at least mention that and convey the same in the statement issued to the media. It is cases like this which had prompted The Sangai Express at times to drop the drug recovery story. Nothing could be more unfortunate than this. The point is, the intent of purpose and the sincerity in the drive against drugs ought to be demonstrated by all concerned.
That some prominent civil society organisations from the Poumai areas in Senapati district and Tangkhul bodies from Ukhrul and Kamjong districts have come forward to join the war on drugs campaign is significant but there still remains the question of why no efforts are visible to nail the big fishes, a line which The Sangai Express has repeated many times in this column. As noted numerous times, it is not the farmer who till the soil and plant the poppy plants or the petty pushers pulled up from the Imphal-Moreh route and the streets of Imphal which matter, but the big guns. It is only when the big fishes are netted can one hope to crack the syndicate. It is not at all likely that one drug dealer would be carrying on the nefarious deeds by himself or herself and it would entail the involvement of a whole nexus of sellers, buyers, the people with connection who have the means and the resources to smuggle drugs along the National Highways to other cities of the country. For starters, where are the drugs worth Rs 15 crore in the market seized at Assam headed for ? From where did it originate. Who was the contact who handed over the drugs to the two persons who were arrested along with the drugs in the neighbouring State. Has the State police got in touch with their Assam counterparts to get a bigger picture of the drug smuggling operation ? Establish the nexus. This is the job of the Government and only then can the initiative of the CSOs of the Tangkhul people and the Poumai folks have any meaning.