Manipur CM N Biren has assured that there will not be a single political intervention or pressure on any drug or anti-national related cases and that he will personally deal with interventions, if there is any. There will be no compromise on drugs and anti-social related cases, he added. He is destroying poppy plantation in the State.
CM also said that any police personnel using drugs or trafficking drugs or with records of drug abuse should be suspended, put into rehabilitation centres and be terminated after following proper legal process.
Concerning illegal poppy plantations in the State, CM N Biren also instructed officials to identify and arrest the landowners where plantations are done. Poppy Plantation is a crime against humanity and harshest punishment must be given to the perpetrators.
Poppy plantation in Manipur during 1900s
In 1901-1902, Government of Burma reported that numerous cases of smuggling of opium and ganja from Manipur had been detected in Upper Chindwin district. Similarly, smuggling of Opium from Manipur to Cachar in Assam was also reported in the Assam Excise Administration Report of 1901-1902.
To check the smuggling of opium from Manipur into Burma and Assam, the Chief Commissioner of Assam proposed to prohibit the cultivation of poppy in Manipur. Responding to the proposal, the Political Agent of Manipur on 23rd April 1904 prepared a report mentioning that poppy cultivators (mostly Muslim) in the State will lose an income of around Rs 12,000 per annum with the prohibition.
Poppy was cultivated by several muslim population (10,383 per per 1901 Census) in their homestead land, while majority of Manipuri Hindus did not cultivate it due to caste reasons. And the plant was unknown to the hill tribes at that time.
In Manipur, opium was used as a medicine for bowel complaints, dysentry and external application for the reduction of bruishes and swellings received in athletic sports such as Mukna (Wrestling), Kangjei (Hockey) and Sagol Kangjei (Polo). Sometimes both Manipuri and foreigners used poppy seeds as condiments.
Complete prohibition of poppy cultivation in Manipur was accepted by the Government of India on 26th October 1904.
Punishment for drug sellers and smuggler in the World
Around the world, several countries have announced harshest punishments related to drug smugglers. In Malaysia, those who sell drugs can be given capital punishment. Just for having drugs in possession, one can be fined, jailed, or deported.
In China, if you are caught with drugs, you could be forced to attend drug rehab in a facility run by the government. Execution is the penalty for some drug crimes. In Vietnam, drug crimes are taken very seriously. If you are arrested with more than 1.3 pounds of heroin, you will be automatically be executed.
Similarly, If you are caught with drugs in Iran, the worst-case scenario is the death penalty. In Thailand, those trafficking narcotics may be put to death.
The sale of drugs in Saudi Arabia almost always results in the death penalty. Sale of drugs is punishable by death in Indonesia. In Philippines, drug traffickers are sentenced to death.
Drug users in Manipur
In Manipur there are around 34,000 psychoactive substance dependent peoples, out of which as many as 24,000 (almost 73 percent) are children-cum-adolescent population. Keisham Pradip, a former member of the Manipur Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MCPCR) mentioned this data in his reports.
As per a recent study on the prevalence and pattern of substance used among the higher secondary school students of Imphal in Manipur, out of 1,020 students, 551 had reports of prior substance use. It is estimated that fifty percent of the total population might be suffering from drug menace in our society.
Nisha Thadoklasi campaign by BJP led govt
The State Government also launched ‘Nisha Thadoklasi’ campaign on June 26, 2018 at the observance of ‘International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking’. And after five months, On 3rd November 2018, N Biren Singh declared “war On Drugs”.
The war on Drugs have led to the busting of brown sugar factories and seizing of smuggled drugs in the last few years. In a major haul for the state on 29 June 2019, NAB with police team busted a brown sugar factory at Lillong in Thoubal District worth Rs 100 crore in International market.
Another heroin manufacturing factory was also busted and seized 183 kgs of drugs worth over Rs 160 crores in the international market from Moijing Awang Leikai area of Thoubal District on 17th August 2019.
Seizure of 40 lakh tablets of contraband WY (World is Yours), worth Rs 400 crore in the international market at Phoudel Keirenbi Mathak leikai on 24th August 2019 in under Thoubal District was Manipur’s biggest haul of banned narcotic drugs in entire Northeast region.
War against Poppy plantation in the Hills
SP K Meghachandra has said that the poppy plants destruction drive conducted by the combined team of NAB & Manipur Police could be about 15,000 to 20,000 acres in a year. From 2020 to February 2021, NAB along with the support of other security agencies have destroyed poppy plants that were illegally cultivated across more than 1,420 acres of land in seven hill districts of Manipur. During 2017-2019 Manipur police have destroyed an area of 2,858 acres of poppy plantation.
Clarion call from N Biren Singh
The clarion call from N Biren Singh to save the lives of thousands of young population in the state threatened by drug abuse must be supported by every stakeholders in the State. The Alliance for Drug Free Manipur (ADFM) is mobilizing the youths to stay away from the menace of drugs in the state. ADFM is reaching out to schools, clubs and colleges pledging the younger generations for a drug free Manipur.
Supporting N Biren Singh’s effort to fight the menace of drug in the state, several villagers also volunteered to destroy poppy cultivation in and around their villages. Recently, Tumuyon Khullen village authority council and the Tumuyon Khullen Youth Club have destroyed poppy plantations continuously for four consecutive days within the area of around 10 hectares.
According to a report of Manipur Narcotic and Affairs of Border (NAB) department, 963 drug traffickers were arrested including 768 men and 195 women under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic substance (NDPS) Act, during April and June in 2019. Again in 2021, 467 persons were arrested in drug cases.
Stressing further on the gravity of the drug menace in our society, N Biren also said that the fight against drugs is a war and we should move forward until we get our results. He made an earnest appeal to all stakeholders to be serious and not to deal with the issue casually as it could affect entire generations and society.
It is time for all of us to think of our future generation. It is the sole responsibility of the present generation to shape and protect our future generations.
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