Ambit of inter-state drug trade inquiry widened: Police

The police have cast the net wide to find out whether an inter-state drug-peddlers’ nexus is fuelling growing substance abuse in the Valley, while admitting some substances were reaching Kashmir from Punjab and ruling out an international link to the deadly trade.

Talking to Greater Kashmir on the sideline of a press conference here, senior superintendent of police (SSP) Srinagar, Haseeb Mughal, said the police were not meant for acting against drug addicts.

“The health department has to deal with addicts. Though we are treating the addicts at the police drug-addiction centre and counselling them, we can’t call it policing,” Mughal said.

But, Mughal said, police’s job is to catch drug peddlers who are selling drugs, especially anti-depressants, opium, brown sugar and cannabis to young boys in Srinagar and elsewhere.

“We are at it and won’t rest till the strict action is taken against drug peddlers in Srinagar district. Once the role of the person is established he will be booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and no mercy will be shown,” he added.

Asked how heroin was reaching Kashmir, Mughal said, “Police have widened the ambit and all information is gathered and a plan has been worked out to find out whether the substance is actually heroin or something else. We will find out the reality very soon. We are well aware of the media reports that some patients who were addicted to heroin have revealed that the substance was just a phone call way.”

Mughal said the police have so far found that the drugs abused the most are opium, cannabis and anti-depressants that are available at medical shops. He said the police have established that some substances were coming from Punjab and, at the same time, were working on some leads to find out whether there is any other inter-state drug trail.

“If there is any we will get to the bottom of the case to know how deep is the nexus and who is involved. Strict action will follow and that’s for sure,” he said and ruled out any “international involvement”. Greater Kashmir has recently reported on how drug addiction is growing in the Valley. Official figures revealed that in 2018, over 46000 people abusing drugs and substances had been treated at SMHS hospital Srinagar. This number has crossed the 12000 mark so far this year.