Amid ongoing anti-terror operations in the Kashmir Valley, Mursalin Mir, a 24-year-old lawyer in Sopore in North Kashmir's Baramulla district, has launched an "operation" of her own - fighting the drug menace in the Valley. Mursalin Mir's campaign against drug addiction has received wide support across North Kashmir.
Mursalin Mir and her team spend most of their time in the fields of Sopore, destroying cannabis plantations. "We found graveyards and deserted places and even areas which are otherwise active but remain deserted in the night, where cannabis is cultivated", Mursalin Mir said.
The campaign, called 'Operation All Out', was started in Sopore two months ago and has since spread across North Kashmir. It has also created a buzz on social media. "I got to know about the campaign through social media, I expressed my desire to be a part of the mission, they welcomed me wholeheartedly and I became a part of this mission", Inayat, a student said.
The campaign has also drawn huge support from people living in cannabis infested zones, with most of them seeking help.
Although Mursalin Mir is working with her fellow lawyers and a team of volunteers, combating the drug menace in Sopore's vastly conservative society has its own challenges.
"Yes, I face resistance but I will not give up just for that," Mursalin Mir said. "My father supported me, but he also told me that this is social work in which you will have to burn in fire, every day, with your whole team and even family," she added.
Drug abuse in Jammu and Kashmir is a growing menace, one that state authorities have struggled with for the past few years. Conflict and stress are a catalyst for drug abuse in the state, and factors like peer pressure and unemployment further fuel drug addiction. According to a survey by United Nations International Drug Control Programme in 2008, there are 70,000 drug addicts in the state, 4000 of whom are women.