Alim, Adab, Aab and Now Drugs in Bandipore

Bandipora:-  Tanveer Ahmad – 18 a small skeletal-faced boy with beard yet in their roots and a scar above his eyebrows in a hoarse voice is not able to stand on his legs due to the drugs consumed by him. To his disillusion, he feels drugs may take him away from the deceptive world.

Tanveer in the dismay of drugs says, “He feels to be on his own and realizes world to be beautiful.” But in reality neither he is able to stand on his legs firmly nor to see the real beauty of the world.

It was on the fateful day when Tanveer with his ill minded friends planed to go on a trip to Gulmarg and he was introduced to this dark world by them.

He confesses that he never wanted to get trapped into this filthy world but due to the company of such people, taking drugs became his day to day habit.

He started all this from a few tablets costing only a few rupees from peddlers but now when he is addicted to it, the same peddlers charge him a huge amount for them same drugs. He is so much desperate now for the drugs that he sold a samovar (an Iron container typically used to make tea) that his grandparents had gifted to his mother on her marriage. “I can never forgive myself and forget this incident” says Tanveer.

He wishes to come out of it but desperately wants someone to help him to get rid of it.

It is not only 18 years old Tanveer, but hundreds of youths like him are cornered due to this deadly menace and want to come out of it. But due to the absence of authorities and proper checking in the district not only already trapped but more youths are getting involved in drug abuse.

According to sources, youth especially from Plan, Bagh, Nowpora, Nehbrepora, SK Bala, Sumbal and Hajin area of the district are getting involved in drugs while many have also made a business out of it.

Dr. Parveez, who had a comprehensive study on drug addiction in the district says, “The alarming matter is that the unemployed youth have started peddling drugs for their livelihood.” And he warns of disastrous results if the admin doesn’t take it seriously.

Instead of being mute spectators, Dr Parveez wants Government to take immediate steps to stop this deadly virus and to come up with drug de-addiction centres without any delay.

Pertinently the residents of the area blamed authorities for not taking immediate steps to curb the expanding drug menace.

Concerned over the situation, Mufti Muhammad Ishaq Nazki of Dar-ul-Uloom Reheemiya Bandipora said, “Time will come when there will be drug addicts in every house and then it will be very difficult to handle the situation. It is very unfortunate that the district admin is not serious about it.”

It is lamentable that the chemists in Bandipora are selling narcotics and habit-forming drugs without proper prescriptions. Nobody from authorities wakes up to keep a check whether the chemists are following the norms of selling drugs or not.

Few years back, the district administration had set up a drug-de addiction center but according to locals, not a single addict has been rehabilitated there and the centre now lies defunct.

The residents also alleged Police authorities for giving “free hand” to the persons involved in illegal trade of drugs in the area.

The peddlers meet their customers (drug addicts) at fixed spots in the evening. These fixed spots revolve around different restaurants, public parks, particularly in and around the Gulshan chowk where they take these drugs after having street food.

According to reports, the drugs are usually supplied from Delhi and Punjab and subsequently reach Srinagar. From the City it is distributed among suppliers who make it available in town via Sopore.

“Had the police been honest and serious in curbing the drug menace, our youth would not have been involved in drugs. They are giving free hand to these peddlers and they let them free after arresting for some time,” said an old man who chose to remain anonymous.

However, the Police claim to have acted tough on the drug peddlers.

Talking to the Kashmir Observer, SSP Bandipora Zulfikar Azad said, “We are trying our best to curb the drug menace in the locality. We have formed special police parties who are continuously checking these areas to end this menace.

Zulfikar said, they have seized around 20, 000 banned tablets, 106 banned bottles, 20 kg of cannabis (Charas), 15 kg’s of Poppy and 60 bottles of liquor in 09 months.

Waking up to the menace, the district police under the supervision of  Zulfikar Azad claims to have launched massive drug de-addiction drives against the peddlers and according to the officials, police have also arrested 32 persons involved in illicit drugs related activities and have slapped 8 persons under Public Safety Act (PSA). Commenting of the allegations by the locals that police has given “the peddlers a free hand”, Azad said, “Our job is to arrest the accused, it’s up to the court to decide further.”

Refusing the claims of growing drug addiction in the district, Deputy Commissioner Bandipora Sajjad Hussain Ganie said, “Over 100 drug addicts are being counselled and treated presently in district hospital but it is done undercover and there is no such prevalence of drug addiction in the district”

Sajjad, further said they are working on to establish a full-fledged drug addiction centre in the district.

However all these hefty claims are of worth when the youth of this area comes back from the menace of drugs to A’lim, Adab and Aab.

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is a Srinagar-based journalist and tweets @AuqibJaveed.

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