Taking the case to a higher Court Meaningful nudge from SC
That it took a nudge from the Supreme Court to make the State Government appeal the acquittal of Lhoukhosei Zou in the infamous drug seizure case of 2018 in a higher Court should say something profound. All credit for this must go to 3.5 Collective and a number of reformed former drug users who appealed to the Supreme Court to do something about the case. Give more teeth to the slogan ‘War on Drugs’ has always been the stand of The Sangai Express and the need to go deeper than the story of so and so person arrested or hauled up in possession of so and so amount of drugs should be taken to its logical conclusion. The question is, who are the persons financing the drug trafficking ? The persons arrested from the streets or on the Imphal-Moreh highway can at best be couriers or pushers and one wonders why no follow up action has ever been spelt out to the media so that the same may be taken to the people ? What is the follow up story after drug manufacturing units were busted some time back in Manipur ? Or should the finger be pointed at the media for not doing enough homework to follow the story independently ? Either way, Manipur just offers the best example of a place where drug trafficking and even manufacturing can become a profitable venture with no fear of being exposed. This is exactly what seems to be happening as no story of drug kingpins or the brain behind the drug smuggling has ever hit the media for public consumption. Maybe organisations like 3.5 Collective can explore ways to bring this to the public domain. Time to take the War on Drugs beyond its catchy slogan and make it more meaningful. And the first step towards this should be to take steps to unmask the people who are behind the drug pushers. Arresting the drug pushers can at best be seen as just fighting the symptoms and not tackling the real issue, which is to unmask the moneyed, influential masterminds in the drug smuggling activities. The nexus needs to be exposed. The question is, is the Government ready to go into this crucial question ? The very fact that the man central to the huge drug seizure case of 2018 was the Chairman of the Autonomous District Council of Chandel also raises a very disturbing question and this is something which the State Government just cannot afford to brush away.
The Government must also take cognizance of the fact that Manipur today may be more than just a transit route of drugs from the infamous Golden Triangle. If one drug manufacturing unit is busted, then the Government would need to seriously study if there could be more. So far not much along this line has been heard and no one seems to know who financed and backed up the drug manufacturing units that have been busted so far in Manipur. Surely the people arrested from the site of the drug manufacturing unit can at best be ‘employees’ tasked with the job of procuring the raw material and processing the same to produce the end product, drugs in this case. Much have also been said about Poppy plantations in the hill districts of Manipur. Who owns and finances the Poppy plantation ? Who owns the land ? This is where the Government would need to study and understand the pattern of land ownership of the two major tribes in the hills of Manipur, the Kukis and the Nagas. Understanding this can go some way in dealing with Poppy plantation for then can responsibility be fixed. Something more needs to be done than appealing to the people to stay away from cultivating Poppy in the hills. Coming back to the 2018 drug seizure case, one hopes the case is taken to its logical conclusion and somewhat disturbing it is to note that it took a voluntary organisation like 3.5 Collective to approach the Supreme Court which then nudged the State Government to take the case to a higher Court. Time to give more substance and meaning to the slogan ‘War on Drugs’.