TODAY -

Manipur launches 'War on Drugs', but Nagaland has no poppy cultivation

Nirendra Dev *



Reports reaching the national capital from Manipur said, due to the rough terrain and bad road, the vehicles could not climb the hill, the joint team including that of Assam Rifles and 6th Manipur Rifles had to carry grass cutter, sprayer, drinking water and other necessary equipment.

With just a few gypsy and manpower at their disposal, the district administrations managed the herculean task in carrying out destruction of poppy cultivation at Ukhrul and Kamjong Districts.

But one question that calls for debate despite sharing similar geographies and even ethno-tribal bonds, there is no poppy cultivation in neighbouring state of Nagaland.

Like elsewhere Money is 'loved' in Nagaland too; there are other human baser instincts revolving around greed; yet Nagas in the state of Nagaland have stayed away from poppy cultivation. At the official circles in Delhi, there is 'appreciation' over it; and yet there is dismay.

Is it the fear of 'Godly powers' by a God fearing Christian community? Officials would not hazard any guess. And even retired military and civil officials cannot pinpoint at the reason behind, but they say drug abuse is prevalent in Nagaland too -- but unlike Manipur in much lower scale.

Reports said a joint team of state police, Ukhrul Forest Division, 6th Manipur Rifles, 35 Assam Rifles and volunteers of Tangkhul CSOs carried out destruction of poppy cultivation at Mapithel Hill Range, Kamjong District under Litan Police Station in Manipur.

After climbing the steep hills for more than an hour, the joint team comprising 141 persons carried out destruction of illicit poppy cultivation at the Mapithel Hill Range. Around 20 hectares area of poppy cultivation was destroyed and many huts and other infrastructures were burnt to ashes, sources said.

The destruction of poppy cultivation in the Mapithel Hill Range continued for three-four days. The efforts are to ensure destruction of poppy cultivation this is part of the Manipur government’s drive on “War On Drugs”. Sources say, several warnings have been given to the villagers not to cultivate poppy, but this practices is going on at a very large scale in some hill ranges.

Necessary legal actions will be also initiated. However, the drug business and drug abuse have overlapping issues and at times not grasped in totality. Multiple sources in the know of things suggest that closer scrutiny of the drug smuggling industry vis-a-vis northeast India is required.

It is suggested that while drugs of third/fourth quality are marketed and 'abused' in Manipur and other northeastern states; the better quality stuff is marketed in big cities and metros.

"This is a fast evolving and growing industry....there are deep pockets in big Indian cities where a new thing called rave parties etc are now practiced quite frequently. Hence there are demands for it," a source said. This argument explains why the Narcotics Department and other agencies time to time frequently conduct "raids" on these types of gatherings in various cities.

This is why often celebrities and their off-springs also hit headlines.

Not long ago, foreign visitors had 'discovered' that the seaside locations made an easy or better spots for rave events. But now there is penetration into other places as well including metros and various state capitals. Analysts also say that drugs like MDMA, ketamine, GHB, Rohypnol, and LSD--known collectively as "club drugs"--are an integral part of the rave culture.

In July this year, Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) had arrested four people, including a woman, for allegedly being part of drugs supplying racket and organising rave parties for young men and women at different guest houses and hotels in Lucknow city. It has also been reported that the Israeli, Russian and Italian mafia exist in Manali and Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh and run drug business through various means.

Source say consignments of charas, opium and other drugs from North India, including Manali, do reach Goa from where it is also smuggled overseas.

"Lush green valleys, snowcapped mountains, freshwater lakes. Himachal Pradesh has several striking features to attract tourists from all parts of the world. But, of late, a 'shady' attraction has made it to the list: rave and full moon parties offering a cocktail of banned drugs, liquor, and even sex," 'India Today' reported sometime back.

Elvish Yadav, a YouTuber and reality TV show winner of Big Boss OTT, was recently booked by the Noida Police for allegedly using snake venom at a rave party.

The use of snake venom as a medicine and the changes that occur after consuming it have been explained in a 2018 study titled 'Snake Venom Use as a Substitute for Opioids: A Case Report and Review of Literature' that was published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine.

The study states that the snake bites lead to jerky movements of the body, blurring of vision, and unresponsiveness, blackout for an hour.

However, after waking up, the addict can experience a heightened arousal and sense of well-being, which lasts for three-four weeks. Reports also suggest that dry ganja is often exchanged for psychedelic substances in places like Goa and Bengaluru. There could be more tales of a darker side of drug peddling and its distribution network.


* Nirendra Dev wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a New Delhi-based journalist
and can be contacted at nirendev1(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on December 02 2023.



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