Recently, three policemen including a Sub-Inspector were suspended for ‘assisting’ drug smugglers in transportation of drugs and psychotropic substances. The matter to light when three persons were arrested at Maram along with 3.69 kgs of brown sugar who disclosed to the police that they paid money to the said police personnel for giving them free passage. It happens.
There are lot of rotten apples among the police which not only brings bad reputation to the force but defeats the very purpose of War on Drugs campaign. We had earlier questioned the leakages of drug consignments in the state. Some time back, Assam police intercepted more than 4 kg of heroin worth Rs 25 crore in the international market at Khatkhati in Karbi Anglong district of Assam.
While the district SP said that the vehicle carrying the drugs were suspected to be from Manipur, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was graceful enough not to mention the name of our state. Two persons have been arrested and the drugs were found concealed inside the door panel of the driver seat. This is not the first time and Assam police continues to seize drugs and other psychotropic substances originating from Manipur or with a transit history of having passed through Manipur state. On numerous occasions, Assam police had been able to seize drugs after intercepting trucks and other vehicles coming from Manipur.
It has been quite a while when people in uniform were caught red-handed with drugs. Five commando police personnel were arrested and a huge amount of heroin powder and WY drugs worth Rs 3.35 crore was seized from their possession by a combined team of District Commando Kakching and Pallel police, on Imphal-Moreh road along National Highway-102 on Monday. The seized drugs are reported to be worth around Rs 3,35,50,000 in total in the local market. The price is said to be 10 times higher in the international market. This is not the first time that police personnel were caught red-handed with drugs and there are murmurs of the involvement of some police higher-ups in the drug trade of which the chief minister has been briefed.
In the past, groups of regular policemen or police commandos and even some army officers were caught with huge quantity of drugs and cases under the NDPS Act are still going on. Besides the regular police, specially designated units and wings to join in the anti-drug campaign. Just as the Centre has Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB), the state has Narcotics and Affairs of Border (NAB) under the Police Department and now there is the task force. In his second term as the Chief Minister, N Biren formed an Anti-Narcotics Task Force (ANTF) just days after he was sworn in for the second time. He has even started announcing rewards for police units involved in large scale seizure of drugs and arrests.
Decades ago, Manipur was just a transit point in drug smuggling originating from the infamous Golden Triangle, as it shares a 400 km long border with Myanmar. The Golden Triangle is an area where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong rivers. The Golden Triangle is commonly used more broadly to refer to an area of approximately 950,000 square km that overlaps the mountains of the three adjacent countries.
Three decades ago, this region produced more than 70 percent of all opium sold worldwide, most of it refined into heroin. Well, that is the basic background of the overall drug scenario. The widespread poppy plantations and the home-grown drug manufacturing units in Manipur did not develop overnight. There must certainly be patrons or powerful people behind the wide-spread poppy plantation just as there would be for the heavy traffic of drugs in recent times.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s War on Drugs campaign was marred by the infamous Lhukhosei Zou case in his first term and it still continues to haunt his anti-drug campaign. Lhukhosei Zou was a political big-wig from whose residence a huge haul of drugs was seized. There was a big tamasha of charges and counter-charges flying around within the establishment itself. Somehow, he got himself acquitted by the court while a few of his minions were convicted.