Pakistan, Drugs and Kashmir

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Narcotics Terrorism by Pakistan is destroying Kashmir. It is time to acknowledge this

Shah Zain

What can be more painful to witness a parent virtually begging before a law enforcing officer, seeking custody of her child who was a substance abuser? This happened last year when I was meeting a senior officer at one of the district headquarters in Kashmir when I saw a black abaya wearing middle-aged woman making pleas before the officer to immediately take her teenager son into custody and save his life. On enquiring, the woman revealed that her son got addicted to drugs somewhere between home and school, and the situation has reached to a level of seemingly no return. She wept while saying that her son beats her up if she tries to stop him from going out of home in want of drugs. She said he steals anything from home or outside if he falls short of money for drugs. Now, her only option to save herself from the torture, both physical and mental, inflicted by her son was to get him locked up so that she can get few moments of peace at home.

‘Our Society At Large Is To Blame’

“We have reached to this pass,” said the officer to me. “And our society at large is to blame, who remains mum in not calling out Pakistan for what it is doing in Kashmir.”
I was shaken from within seeing the gravity of the situation viz-a-viz drug abuse in our society. I don’t understand whom to blame and what to hold responsible for this grave situation. Are our religious leaders and maulanas, who leave no chance to fan sectarian and communal flames in the society , social activists, who make careers out of such calamities, political parties and leaders, who always misled people for their ulterior motives, responsible? Or is the society at large responsible for turning a blind eye to this grave issue? These questions need to asked, and asked unequivocally and vociferously. The common man on the street should also know that the majority of drugs are being supplied by Pakistan to Jammu and Kashmir and use the proceeds to keep their terror machine running, and in both ways the neighbouring country is making life hell for our youth and eating up the very vitals of our society.

Alarming Facts On Drug Abuse

Undoubtedly, the drug abuse in Kashmir is very rampant, and more and more people are getting addicted to drugs on a daily basis. The firgures and the facts are very alarming. The Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (IMHANS) of the Government Medical College, Srinagar is reporting a 2660% increase in patients seeking treatment for drug abuse since 2016, primarily for heroin addiction. The number of people who require help is twice the national average. Addicts are rich and poor, employed and unemployed and overwhelmingly young. The IMHANS has done a survey across 10 districts of Kashmir and found that 2.8% of the population of Kashmir has been substance abusers , with 52,404 currently dependent on drugs, 25% of unemployed youth involved in substance abuse, and addicts spending 88,000 rupees a month procuring heroin.
Also a report by the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences in February 2019 said that 600,000 people in J&K were consuming drugs, close to 5% of the total population. The report said 4.91% of the population use opioids, and 0.62% depend on them.

Gloomy And Blurred Picture

So the situation on ground depicts a very gloomy and blurred picture. We can’t let the drugs consume of youth and do nothing. Those who are adept at misleading people through false slogans and twisted narratives may find hundreds of reasons for this but for the main cause. They misled people by saying that our youth do drugs because they are unemployed or we have some domestic dispute in families. They can be a reason for the rampant misuse of drugs in our society but not the main reason, which is Pakistan sponsored terrorism and its terror industry. Drugs in Kashmir is the direct offshoot of Pakistan’s terrorism in Kashmir and people have to accept this, sooner the better.

Denial Will Worsen The Problem

Denial will only worsen the problem. There may be some pressures to deny that the elephant exists in the room. But the larger fallout is that this denial will devour our whole society.
Government of the day has to act very tough against those found involved in drug trade or facilitating its supply in Kashmir. The drug cartels and supply chains have to be found and destroyed. Already a lot is being done in this from by our vigilant police and security agencies, more vigour need to be added to the efforts.

Govt Must Formulate Roadmap To Fight Drug Abuse

Besides this, government should constitute a high-level committee of administrators and experts to formulate a roadmap against drug addiction with active involvement of academic institutions and other line departments. Social activists and religious preachers have to play their role and highlight the deleterious impacts of drug abuse on the society in their Friday sermons.
The whole society has to come forward to eradicate this menace and save youth from falling prey to it.

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