Assam police continues to seize drugs and other psychotropic substances originating from Manipur or with a transit history of having passed through Manipur state and what are we exactly doing about it. Just the other day, a team of Assam police accosted a Meitei Pangal from Kwakta village in Manipur walking on the railway tracks near Khatkhati in Karbi Anglong district of Assam and seized 685 grams of Heroin worth Rs 1 crore from his possession. Such seizures have been happening again and again in recent times.
A few months back, Assam police seized a truck coming from Manipur with a large quantity of drugs. The police team found 149 separate packets of the items suspected to be WY tablets hidden in the body of the truck. That was not the first instance as on numerous occasions Assam police had been able to seize drugs after intercepting trucks and other vehicles coming from Manipur.
The smuggled items include heroin, brown sugar and raw opium besides other narcotic substances. In September last year, a large consignment of drugs valued at Rs 5 crores was seized in Karbi Anglong district along with three persons. The haul included brown sugar, heroin and Methamphetamine tablets which were in 143 packets. Like in Manipur, Himanta Biswa Sarma after becoming the chief minister of Assam stepped up the anti-narcotic drive in Assam and asked Assam police to be extra vigilant of drugs passing through the state.
As a result, Assam police was able to seize large quantities of drugs and many of the drugs were seized from vehicles coming from neighbouring Manipur. According to hype, Manipur is supposed to have a very active anti-drug campaign of its own under the name and style of ‘War on Drugs’ raging in the state, and police and security forces of all hue are competing among themselves not only in gathering intelligence but also involving directly in arrests and seizures.
The leader of the campaign Chief Minister N Biren Singh had made it a point to announce awards for police and other forces who are directly involved in seizure of sizeable quantities and opened the doors to all forces to actively participate in the campaign. So every other day, the social media is bombarded with photos of police commando units or IRB/MR personnel or other forces and agencies posing with the seized drugs and arrestees in full glory.
Coming back to the point, we would like to discuss the issue of leakages. How did large drug consignments manage to slip through the layers of interception points involving different dedicated agencies and units besides other forces who have joined the anti-drug campaign here in the state? By now, everyone seems to have a fair knowledge of how drugs are transported in vehicles and how fabrication is done in the body of vehicles to conceal drugs, from detailed newspaper reports.
And we understand that the know-how had been passed on to the different forces involved by the dedicated units. But we are yet to understand whether the Anti-Narcotics Task Force (ANTF) newly set up in the state has a common intelligence hub of all inputs coming from the different sources, or not. Again, does the state have a clear understanding of how drug cartels operate or simply their modus operandi?
The lack of credible intelligence or focus is clearly apparent here and our heads hang in shame whenever Assam police seizes drug consignments originating from Manipur in Assam. We must also understand that fighting the menace of drugs is a serious business and it needs focus besides dedication. It is not something in which every Tom Dick and Harry can join in with a free license.
The involvement of different forces other than the dedicated agencies and units is already muddying up the waters. Look at the issue of low conviction in NDPS-related cases and dismal state of affairs in police procedure starting from arrests and seizure and investigation in drug cases. What matters most is whether the right procedure as mandated by CrPC is followed at the time of arrests or seizure by investigating officers.