Cross border trade becoming a conduit for drug smuggling in J&K, substance abuse on the rise


Regular seizure of drugs on the international border and along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir points to the fact that there is a deep rooted narcotics business network established in the state. Sharing a long border with Pakistan which is difficult to be manned, and patrolled at every inch has made the problem more acute. However, the clever use of the cross-border trade as a conduit for drugs has raised the stakes to dangerous levels. Drugs particularly Heroin, counterfeit money, weapons are brought from across the border by smugglers, and terror operators but the transport during trade has given it an easier and legitimate route. These drugs are meant for distribution across the country but a large quantity also trickles into the state which could lead to a serious drug problem in the near future.

The problem is acute as in last two years hundreds of kilogram of drugs have been recovered from Pakistani trucks on the LoC. Although the government has repeatedly said that action would be taken against those involved in this trade but still the cross-border trade is being used as a conduit to push drugs. The trade which started seven years back has seen many ups and downs, and only restricted goods are allowed to be traded but still it has got mired in drugs. Repeatedly the police has caught Pakistani truck drivers, and local traders who are involved in the transport of the drugs but somehow for every kg caught there must be some stuff which is reaching across the border.

There has been repeated suspensions of the trade as both sides arrested drivers for allegedly smuggling but the problem was not resolved despite talks and discussion. The movement of drugs through trade, and on the Loc through carriers, and smugglers located in border villages is pushing drug use in the state. There is also a though that trade should not be held hostage to drug smuggling but the message has not gone down right with Pakistan.
Heroin, brown sugar, and other drugs are routinely finding their way into the state much to the chagrin of the authorities here.
Previously also the cross-border trade was flourishing and in 2008, the Punjab police had busted an inter-state racket operating from Jammu and Sialkot in Pakistan. Three residents of Arnia were arrested which led to drug haul worth crores. Earlier also BSF has made huge hauls which tell that smuggling has been continuous phenomenon in the state.

Sources tell that it is being believed that there is strong connection between drug operators in J&K active on LoC and the receivers in Delhi, and South India from where it is pushed to foreign countries while a part is diverted to local supplies.

The drugs coming from Afghanistan, and Pakistan are used to fund terrorism, buying of weapons, and logistics for the insurgents across the world. In the last one decade, there have been numerous high profile drug busts including those of top smugglers, and even some officials involved in this trade were caught. However despite the sustained action, the money in drugs is so huge, and involves so many selfish interests that the trade is booming.

The narcotics hauls on the border are happening regularly particularly the cross-border trade on the Loc is now being used to push drugs into India.

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