Civil bodies submit memorandum for concrete government action against drug menace in Manipur

A campaign was held in support of drug victims and the organisers carried out silent protests and car rallies in Imphal.

Demanding concrete action to combat the drugs menace in Manipur, different organisations working on drugs-related issues and fighting for the welfare of drug users in the state on Saturday submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister N Biren Singh and Governor Najma Heptulla, saying that the people of the state have failed to see any commitment on the part of the government to address the issue.

The memorandum was submitted as a part of the campaign organised by the Makers Foundation, Apunba Drug Rehabilitation Centre’s Forum (ADRF), CoNE, Kangleipak Drug Awareness Prevention (KADAP) and the User Society for Effective Response (USER) Manipur.

The campaign was held under the theme ‘We are victims, don’t let others’, in support of the victims of drugs, at the ground of Rising Star Club, Sekta, Imphal East.

Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE) president RK Nalinikanta, speaking during the campaign, said that despite Manipur being severely affected by the drugs menace for the past four decades, the people of the state have failed to see any political commitment or will on the part of the government to address the issue.

The memorandum demanded the state government to legalise poppy plantation or prohibit it altogether; reinforce Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act and punish drug traffickers’; bring out a scientific module of primary prevention of substance use and implement it.

It also demanded to scale up harm reduction and carry out demand reduction programmes under the national and state funding, and implement school intervention programmes on substance use.

Nalinikanta said that the campaign was organised to highlight the failure of the observance of International Day against Drug abuse and Illicit Trafficking. On December 7, 1987, the United Nations adopted a resolution to observe the said day with an objective to achieve a drugs free society. The observation of the day began from that moment but its purpose is still not achieved till date, he asserted.

“There is no point of observing the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking if the authority concerned does not have the political will and commitment to uproot the drug menace from the state. The state is facing a serious drug issue from the past four decades and it is still aggravating,” Nalinikanta lamented.

The state government has taken up various programmes to curb drug related issues. But their programmes are usually targeted at drug abusers and have least concern for punishing the drug mafias, he said. Such  loopholes have led to a surge of drug users in the state, he added.

“It has been reported that Manipur police has registered hundreds of drug related cases and arrested hundreds till date. However, an independent survey of the prisons initiated by civil society organisations revealed that the drug peddlers convicted in Manipur are only small fries. The big players who were apprehended with large quantities of drugs are seldom convicted and always find legal loopholes and go scot free,” he stated.

Condemning the state government for not giving any political commitment, he said that not a single legislature has brought up the drug issues on the floor of the Manipur Legislative Assembly till date for the need to intervene and punish the drug traffickers.

While continuing, he appealed that the state government should legalise poppy cultivation unless they fail to end the drug menace.

As a part of the campaign, the organisers carried out silent protests and car rallies. Later, they submitted a memorandum to the chief minister and governor.

First Published:June 27, 2020, 9:58 p.m.