Video: How Manipur Is "Turning The Tides" In War Against Drugs

The four-minute-long video tilted "Turning the Tides: Manipur's Resolute War on Drugs" explains in brief how illegal poppy cultivation and drugs trafficking has been eating up the state from inside

Video: How Manipur Is 'Turning The Tides' In War Against Drugs

A deforested hillside in Manipur used for poppy cultivation

Imphal/New Delhi:

The BJP today posted a video explaining the huge problem of poppy cultivation in Manipur's remote hill areas. The video posted by the BJP's main handle on X, formerly known as Twitter, is being seen as a solid endorsement of Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh's 'War on Drugs' campaign.

The four-minute-long video tilted "Turning the Tides: Manipur's Resolute War on Drugs" explains in brief how illegal poppy cultivation and drugs trafficking has been eating up the state from inside.

The video shows footage taken from a helicopter of tracts after tracts of hillsides in Manipur where poppy cultivation had been going on.

An alleged conspiracy by well-networked cross-border drug traffickers to save their poppy farms from being destroyed under the Manipur government's War on Drugs campaign is said to be one of the causes of the ethnic violence that broke out on May 3, though the spark was the protest by the hill-majority Kuki tribes against the valley-majority Meiteis' demand for Scheduled Tribes (ST) status.

The BJP in the video said drone footage of massive deforestation and extensive environmental damages caused by poppy plantation "angered" the Chief Minister.

Apart from deforestation and sinking land, the destructive method of illegal poppy cultivation has caused substantial damage to the environment. Mountain slopes deforested for illicit crops exposes them to landslides, mudslides, and floods.

Manipur's BJP government under Mr Singh launched the War on Drugs campaign in November 2018. The campaign led to impressive results between March 2022 and March 2023, the BJP said in the video, with the destruction of 3,420 acres of illegal poppy farms.

"The drugs menace poses a serious threat not only to the people of Manipur and the northeast but to every youth of our nation. With massive public support, the War on Drugs campaign launched by the Manipur government has reaped many successes and brought positive changes to people's lives in the state," Mr Singh said in a post on X.

The Manipur government has in the past few days destroyed numerous poppy farms. In the latest update on Saturday, Mr Singh said four acres of poppy farm were found "self-destroyed" in Kangpokpi, 45 km from the state capital Imphal, indicating the poppy farmers have destroyed the illegal crop on their own fearing arrest.

The Manipur government has said it has given alternative crops, equipment, financial aid and other assistance to those who have given up poppy farming.

Manipur shares 400 km of the 1,640 km-long India-Myanmar border, and poppy cultivation is a huge business in the junta nation. One of the areas worst-affected by the ethnic clashes - apart from Churachandpur, where violence started on May 3 - is the porous border trading town of Moreh in Manipur.

Some 60 km from this Indian border town lies the northern tip of Myanmar's Chin State, where the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) found "very high" poppy cultivation density of more than 6 acres per sqkm, or roughly five football fields per sqkm. Churachandpur district, too, is just 65 km from the Chin State border, where there is a dense concentration of poppy fields.

Many leaders including Home Minister Amit Shah and Foreign Minister S Jaishankar have said entry of illegal immigrants is also one of the main factors behind the unrest in the northeast state.

The alleged role of terror groups is another fuel to the Manipur fire that has been already threatening to consume the state. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has said it is looking into an alleged transnational conspiracy involving terror groups hiding in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Manipur to exploit the ethnic tensions in the state.