Drug Menace 'Bigger Challenge' Than Terrorism In Kashmir: Police Chief

The top police officer's remarks on drug abuse in Jammu and Kashmir are seen as an attempt to put the focus on fighting drug abuse in a state where much of the focus of the police remains on fighting terrorism.

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Drug Menace 'Bigger Challenge' Than Terrorism In Kashmir: Police Chief

Police chief SP Vaid is trying to convince everybody including the force to focus on drug abuse


SRINAGAR:  Drug abuse is a "bigger challenge" in Jammu and Kashmir than terrorism that the state has been battling for over 25 years, the state's top police officer SP Vaid said on Thursday, but underlined that much of the blame for this problem also lay at the door of its neighbor, Pakistan.

"There are a lot of drugs and narcotics being pumped into Jammu and Kashmir from across the border. It is very clear who is pumping drugs and narcotics into this state," the police chief told news agency Press Trust of India in an obvious reference to Pakistan.

The officer's remarks come against the backdrop of big seizures and arrests this year and are seen as an attempt to put the focus on fighting drug abuse in a state where much of the focus of the police remains on fighting terrorism.

But there has been realization within the government that rampant drug abuse did not pose any lesser danger and had the potential "to destroy the society".

"The drug menace is a bigger challenge than terrorism. When I joined, I had announced an all-out war against drugs and the people running it," Mr Vaid said, admitting that he was "trying to convince everybody including the police force" about its impact.

"We have made huge seizures, but there is difficulty on the legal and de-addiction fronts," the police chief told PTI.

A 2008 study had estimated Kashmir had 70,000 addicts, nearly 4,000 of them women. Nine years later, local civil society groups are still asking the government to do more. While they wait, Kashmiri society appears to have learnt to cope with the challenge.

(With inputs from PTI)

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