While addressing a regional meeting on drug trafficking and national security with DGPs and other officers, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday stressed making India drug-free and called for cooperation among the northeastern states for solving the drug problem.
Other than Amit Shah, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Union Minister G Kishan Reddy were also present at the meeting.
While addressing the meeting Shah said, “Our honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target of ‘Drug-free India’ on the occasion of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. All the government departments and government agencies are working towards it. But, it is also our responsibility to make sure that our PM’s target is completed.”
“Today, regional cooperation is being held on illegal smuggling and national security. Earlier, we held a summit in Chandigarh with the northern states from Kashmir to Delhi. Similarly, today we have brought all the north-eastern states together for the fight against drugs,” Shah said.
The former BJP President called out Afghanistan and Myanmar as the two main hotspots of drug smuggling and said that drugs and anti-national activities are “two sides of the same coin”.
“Afghanistan and Myanmar are the two hotspots of drug trafficking. It affects the north and the northeast region of the country the most. So, we have to fight the disease at its entry point only. There is a close link between drug smuggling in India and anti-national activities in India. These are two faces of the same coin and without making a drug-free India we can’t think of a terrorism-free India,” Shah said.
The Home Minister further emphasized the need to use technology and target the nexus in a top-to-bottom approach.
“Today, only you all saw how we destroyed 40000 kg of drugs. The Home Ministry had set a target of destroying 75,000 kg of drugs but we have already destroyed 1,50,000 kg of drugs,” Shah said.
“But, just stopping the drug smuggling is not enough, we have to find the entire nexus and everyone involved in it. We have to work in the top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top manner to solve the problem,” he added.
The Home Minister called for cooperation among the northeastern states and assured of taking further steps to solve the problem.
“In 2019, we decided to prepare a four-tier system to combat drugs, starting from the village and Zila levels to the state level. I urge all the Chief Ministers to hold state-level meetings as soon as possible and would urge all the chef executives and DGPs to ensure meetings at the lower levels,” Shah said.
“We have to make the best use of use technology. We have to use drone mapping and laboratory tests to find out the drug smuggling across the region. Whatever further steps we have to take will take,” he added.
The MP from Gandhinagar also urged the public to come forward with their complaints regarding the problem of drugs in the country.
“Our approach is very clear towards drugs. Those who consume drugs are victims and those who smuggle drugs are the culprits. The culprits will face stiff legal action and the victim will slowly be brought back into the mainstream with due process,” Shah said,
“We have created multiple helplines and portals for the public as well. We have also strengthened our agencies in the fight against drugs. We urge the public also to come forward regarding any complaint related to drugs. Only then, can we achieve this difficult target,” Shah said further
The Union Home Minister also presented some data showing related to seizures and arrests made in the fight against drugs.
“I would also like to present some data here, comparing the period of 2006-2013 and 2014-2022. While 1297 cases were registered in 2006-2013, 3172 cases have been registered in 2014-2022. Total arrests in the two periods have been 1363 and 4888. Seizures in the two periods have been 1.5 lakh kg and 3 lakh kg. While drugs worth 768 crores were seized in the first tenure, more than 20,000 crores have been destroyed in this tenure, as we have targeted high quality and expensive drugs as well,” Shah said.
Home Minister Amit Shah further said that the data shows that we are succeeding, but for achieving our target fully, we need complete cooperation among the states. They should meet regularly and share the progress regarding the investigation against drugs.
“We have to lots of work to do for making India drug-free,” he said.