Narco Terrorism-A New Challenge to National Security

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On June 30, the Baramulla police issued an official statement to disclose its performance against drug trafficking- the massive crackdown it started in January this year. According to its official data, it has in the first half of this year recovered drugs worth a whopping Rs 11.8 crores. It further reveals that a total number of 276 cases have been registered under NDPS/PIT/PSA against the peddlers and suppliers of the drugs. “After terrorism, narco terrorism is emerging as a major challenge to our national security,” says one of the senior district police officers, wishing to be anonymous.

The official said that the drug paddlers and its suppliers have direct contact from across the border and hundreds of youths from the border region across the Union Territory are recruited in this illicit trade who are being paid hefty amounts to carry out these activities.

With most of the paddlers arrested by the police hailing from Uri and Kupwara regions border villages, it is evident that the suppliers of the drugs are based in Pakistan.

“Most of the peddlers arrested by us hail from zero-line villages of Uri like Churanda, Silikota etc. Similar situation is in Kupwara. The people in such zero-line villages have their relatives on the other side of Pakistan Occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK) and are easily being contacted by ISI and Pakistan Army to carry out these activities,” said one of the retired army officers who served in Uri for several years.

Back in New Delhi, the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued strict orders to the Jammu Kashmir police and directed to weed out the drug peddling in the region.

The Ministry of Home affairs shares a strong belief that as long the narcotic smuggling doesn’t end in Jammu Kashmir, the terrorism shall prevail. Pakistan, according to MHA is using Narcotic trade as a deep strategic ploy to destabilize India’s national security since its free trade and supply in the country allows it to fund terrorists and their activities without any issues.

The Jammu and Kashmir police by the MHA is directed to concentrate on growing illicit drug trade and ensure all points that allow the inflow of drugs to this side are completely blocked.

This is evident from the press conference of Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh in January this year where he clearly said that in 2023, the police will shift its main focus on narcotic terrorism which fuels the insurgency in Kashmir.

As many as 26 border police posts are coming up alone in North Kashmir in coming times to stop the smuggling of narcotics in Kashmir which is used to fund the terrorism in Kashmir and sponsor anti-national activities.

The MHA has already approved the proposal and around Rs 84 lakh would be required to construct each post and the posts are coming up in Machil, Gurez, Keran, Tangdhar, upper reaches of Police Division Handwara, Uri, and other sectors of north Kashmir.

Following the constitutional reforms in 2019 by the Union Government in Jammu and Kashmir, the terrorism has been crushed down. The intelligence agencies, however, fear the resurfacing of terrorism anytime in case the drug smuggling continues.

India has blocked all international and domestic hawala funding channels after 2019 and all those involved in anti-national activities have been detained. This has set the hope for a fresh dawn of peace and prosperity in the region with handlers in cash strapped Pakistan desperate to restart the terrorism activities in Kashmir. The smuggling of narcotics to Kashmir from where it has smooth access to one of the largest markets in the world was the only hope left for the Pakistan army and its spy agency- ISI. Since it has a severe economic crunch in place, drug smuggling was an alternative to keep cash flowing for the funding and sponsoring of terrorism.   

The MHA is already aware of it and warned repeatedly by its agencies since 2004, though no concrete steps were taken. New Delhi has now realized that narcotic terrorism is the new challenge that it has to deal with.

The recent surveys have estimated that as many as 6 lakh youths in Jammu Kashmir have addiction to drugs which in turn attacks their cognitive behavior and become easy fodder for those who want to keep Kashmir on boil.

“I have met and worked for so many youths who were being induced with drugs. Their cognitive learning was severely affected and were easily programmed for anti-national activities,” says Dr Mir Anayat – a mental health expert.

Anayat demands a community level intervention in every part of the UT if we have to secure our future.

“Every youth addicted to drugs must be counselled individually to ensure he is not back to it once the professionals stop counselling him. The role of parents and the society becomes inevitable.”

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