Like water drug flows through

The Manipur route for drug smuggling had become off-limits due to the present ethnic strife and that it had shifted to Mizoram. But, it seems drug consignments continue to slip through the police dragnet and mayhem.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 24 May 2024, 4:20 am

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While the anti-drug campaign launched by Manipur government along with several forces and agencies had managed to step on the toes of the drug cartel bosses and becoming a major factor in the present turmoil, it had its spill over effect on the neighbouring states activating its antenna and cleaning noses for sniffing illegal drug consignments. Now with the ethnic clashes happening in Manipur, drug cartels have chosen another route in the state of neighbouring Mizoram.

Just as water finds its own way to flow, drug smugglers always find a way to smuggle the same whatever the odds. There had been a number of major seizures of drug consignments in Mizoram state and on the road coming from Mizoram through Assam. The special task force of Assam police is always on the alert and playing spoilsport for the drug couriers. The extra security measures taken up during the recent state assembly elections also made it possible for police and security forces to seize more than the usual quantity.

However, the drug seizures had mostly been by the Assam Rifles and central forces. A Mizoram minister said in the Mizoram assembly that the smuggling of drugs had increased (in Mizoram) due to the ethnic violence in neighbouring Manipur. He also claimed that ‘drug circulation or consumption at the local level has significantly come down following a massive drive launched by state government, churches and civil society organisations’ while adding that 10 people including a woman have died due to drug overdose since January.


Although he sought to play down the level of local circulation and drug abuse, the number of deaths is quite alarming. It is no longer about Mizoram being just another transit point or passage of the drug consignments which passes through the state, but one must also take note of the fact that there is an alarming trickle-down effect in the state also.

We agree that in view of the present turmoil in the state of Manipur, the drug route has mostly shifted to Mizoram state which also borders Myanmar and there is a sudden spurt in drug seizures there by state police and central agencies. Both in the states of Manipur and Mizoram, the border is porous and mostly unfenced. But as Manipur happens to be a traditional route used by drug smugglers for decades, they find it easier to grease palms and transport drug consignment while in Mizoram one has to establish the network afresh.

Circumstances have again compelled the drug smugglers to revert to Mizoram even though Manipur is still the route of choice for the cartels. Even as Manipur continues to burn due to the ongoing ethnic strife, drug couriers still find ways to smuggle in contraband drugs. Traffic along the Tiddim Road connecting Imphal with Churachandpur had been blocked both ways by hordes of Kuki and Meitei volunteers. So, the only route available is the highway from Churachandpur leading to Mizoram. So we had thought that, the Manipur route for drug smuggling had become off-limits due to the present ethnic strife and that it had shifted to Mizoram. But, it seems drug consignments continue to slip through the police dragnet and mayhem.


The most convenient route for transporting drugs and opium remains Churachandpur and Moreh. From there, it is further smuggled through various routes. Communal riots or not, the drug business and supply must go on uninterrupted. That seems to be the dictum. On the other hand, states like Nagaland, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh are taking up their own anti-drug campaigns. With this, Manipur seems to have won the debate on the need for engaging the drug cartels head-on and stopping the drug invasion midway before it spread to other territories. 

So instead of joining the chorus of ‘Kuki-Zo victimhood’ started by the drug cartel bosses and their supporters, Mizoram should also join the campaign against drug smuggling and its exponents. While they harp on the cause of ethnic affinity with people from across the border, they might someday find themselves or the distinctive Mizo identity, which they so far have been closely guarding, under threat. 



First published:


manipur governmentdrug smugglingnarco terroristsdrug seizuresdrug cartels

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur


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