Only a week ago, the Assam police arrested four people hailing from Manipur’s embattled Churachandpur and Kangpokpi districts, in Cachar district while they were transporting drugs.
The suspected drug peddlers travelled from Churachandpur in a Bolero car through Mizoram and entered Cachar from Dholai area.
According to Assam police, they wanted to take the consignment to some other state, and they chose an unusual route to distract the police.
The Cachar police launched an operation late on Tuesday based on specific intelligence, and intercepted the vehicle near the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Silchar and seized 1.50 kg of Heroin.
The arrested persons have been identified as Mamang Haokip (36), Haobem Haokip (30), Henboi Haokip (39) and Gogou Paite (30). While Mamang, Henboi and Gogou are from Churachandpur, Haobem is from Kangpokpi.
Then again, Assam Rifles seized Myanmar-origin illegal liquor and one kg of contraband suspected to be Heroin No 4 at Aina, Churachandpur on Sunday. The said items were seized from one TATA Yodha vehicle bearing No MN01 AA 4210 along with driver Siamsing Guite, son of Thangoulian Guite resident of Vengnuam New Lamka, Churachandpur and co-driver Asupjamlal Guite, son of Ngulksam Guite, resident of Vengnuam New Lamka, Churachandpur at Aina, Churachandpur on National Highway-2.
Last month (July), a team of Senapati police seized 4.046 kg of opium near Khongnem Thana in Senapati district from one Mangkhokam Misao, a Kuki. The 29-year-old opium smuggler or carrier is hailed from Phaipijang village, Dimapur Sadar, Nagaland. He was arrested during frisking and checking along the NH-2 of a four-wheeler (Hyundai Verna) bearing registration number NL07CA-2459. Four packets of suspected opium packed in transparent plastic polythene were found concealed under the seat of the car.
One wonders, where do they find the time and audacity to smuggle drugs in the midst of all the mayhem?
Traffic along the Tiddim Road connecting Imphal with Churachandpur had been blocked both ways by hordes of Kuki and Meitei volunteers. The NH 2 Imphal-Dimapur road is also blocked from both ends.
While there is an official blockade at Kangpokpi district by a Kuki CSO, Meitei volunteers and Meira Paibis are blocking traffic bound for Kangpokpi at Kanglatombi. 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.
Just before the commencement of the present ethnic strife, Churachandpur police arrested two persons namely Thangbiaklun Guite and Nangkhenmang Munluah both from Suangdoh village in Churachandpur district with 16 kg of opium packed in a gunny bag when they were travelling on a Kenbo bike without a registration number at Zaupi Camp which is located about 15 km from Singngat PS.
This year alone, more than 40 kg of opium were seized from various persons, while in 2022, nearly Rs 1,280 crore worth illicit drugs, including 560 kg of opium, were seized from various persons.
The most convenient route for transporting drugs and opium seems to be 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. Who all is benefitting from this drug smuggling? Of course, the leaders of the drug cartel benefit while those at the bottom of the ladder go on killing each other in the name of some imagined political endgame? Need we say more?
Read More: IFP Editorial