Narco terrorism – An emerging grave threat
The recent recovery of heroin worth Rs 8 crore from a wounded terrorist by the Border Security Force (BSF) once again brought to the fore the ugly face of narco terrorism being perpetrated against India by its neighbour Pakistan
The recent recovery of heroin worth Rs 8 crore from a wounded terrorist by the Border Security Force (BSF) once again brought to the fore the ugly face of narco terrorism being perpetrated against India by its neighbour Pakistan. This recovery is a part of hundreds of crores worth of such seizures by the Jammu and Kashmir police in 2022 alone. Most of these cases were detected in Shopian and Pulwama.
Border vigil has gone up multifold in this region and Pakistan is finding it difficult to queer the pitch for the Indian forces nowadays. Most of the terrorists sneaking in under cover are getting neutralised soon enough and their links with the local bred terrorists too are being cut off. The attention now seems to have turned to narco-terrorism along the borders of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir nowadays.
While drug abuse has become rampant in Punjab giving the state a sobriquet, 'Udta Punjab,' Jammu and Kashmir has not, mercifully, attained the stature thanks due to the cultural practices and better morals that the people of the State have in their DNA. However, the modus operandi here seems to be supply through the infiltrating Islamic terrorists. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a case in April 2022 against nine individuals in a special court in Baramulla after seizure of vast sums of arms, narcotics and ammunition. Three Pakistani handlers and six operatives in Kashmir were involved in this case. The Ministry of Home Affairs also mentioned the arrest of three persons including a woman in May earlier for possessing two improvised explosive devices and 7 kg of narcotics.
The proceeds of the sale are being used to fund terrorism. Earlier arrests meant only seizures of weapons and ammunition from the terrorists. But it is invariably drugs, too, from these terrorists. Yet another form used for drug trafficking is the use of drones as in Punjab. It is easier for the handlers of these terror groups to drop drugs into the region from across the border thus. The NIA has also filed a chargesheet against five individuals for terror financing. A Pulwama citizen was the kingpin in this one and through him a link was established with Punjab-based drug peddlers revealing the wider network that showed that the drugs were being peddled across India through these two States.
India is vulnerably positioned in the 'Golden Triangle' area connecting the trade hubs of the South and South East. None of the countries in the neighbourhood of India has a strong institutional apparatus in addition to willing administrations. Pakistani leaders have admitted in the past to terror funding through such narcotic operations. Disturbing reports suggest that at least more than 50,000 citizens have become drug dependent in this State and more youth are falling in line due to the easy availability of the substance.
Apart from anti-drug operations, Kashmir badly needs de-addiction centres at many places. It is important to wean away the youth from the habit. Parents will only be willing to cooperate with the authorities in this aspect. Some in the valley might support militancy but not so in the case of drug consumption. Rehabilitation centres should also be provided alongside opening up of more entertainment areas like cinema theatres which have made a humble beginning of late. It needs a concerted effort of both the civil society and the authorities to steer the State to safety in this regard.