The Jammu and Kashmir Police have been actively involved in tackling various security challenges, including terrorism and related activities like narco-terrorism. Given the region's history of Pakistan-sponsored insurgency and the links between terror groups and illicit activities, law enforcement agencies like the Jammu and Kashmir Police have been working to counter these threats.
Narco-terrorism, which involves the funding of terrorist activities through drug trafficking, has been a concern in the context of Jammu and Kashmir. Security forces, including the Jammu and Kashmir Police, have undertaken operations to disrupt drug trafficking networks and target those involved in these activities, especially if they have connections to terrorist organizations.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police, along with other law enforcement agencies, gather intelligence, conduct investigations, and carry out operations to identify and apprehend individuals or groups involved in drug trafficking and its links to terrorism. These efforts are part of a broader strategy to address the financing of terrorist activities and to maintain law and order in the region.
J&K Police and other security forces have effectively clamped down on terrorist activities., however, there is dire need to strengthen soft-power capacities to curb and gradually eliminate narco-terror and substance abuse across Union Territory of J&K.
This is because the drug trade has direct links in sponsoring the terrorism. Narco-terrorism refers to the nexus between terrorist organizations and the illicit drug trade. These groups engage in drug trafficking to fund their operations, as it provides a source of revenue that is less traceable and easier to acquire than traditional fundraising methods. This term is often used to describe instances where terrorist groups are involved in the cultivation, production, distribution, or sale of drugs to finance their activities.
· On Tuesday, the special designated National Investigation Agency Court, Srinagar declared six members of a narco-terror module as proclaimed offenders. The action came in wake of their involvement in cross-border smuggling of narcotics in collaboration with Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) terror operatives from across the border. The development took place after State Investigation Agency during the investigation of the case FIR No 19/2022, the SIA Kashmir successfully dismantled a narco -terror module and apprehended several of its members. The investigations by anti-terror agency have revealed that illicit drugs were subsequently distributed among the youth while the proceeds were used to fuel terror activities by financing and strengthening the activities of the LeT and HM terrorist organisations.
Last week, SIA, Jammu, arrested a key accused, Mohammad Javed, from Delhi. He was wanted in connection with a narco-terror case registered in Poonch.
On May 30 this year, an attempt was made by four associates of a narco-terror module to smuggle drugs and explosives into India across the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch. The accused were intercepted by personnel of Army’s Sikh Light Infantry and apprehended with arms, ammunition, IEDs and heroin.
“Upon investigation, it was revealed that the group of four persons (of which one had absconded from the spot) were being supervised by key accused Mohammad Javed who was absconding,” an SIA official informed.
Investigations in naroc-terror cases have revealed that Pakistan has frequently used drug terrorism as a weapon to create trouble in J&K. Drug-addicted youth lose their cognitive ability and shackle themselves in the chain of narco-abuse.
Cognitive impairment accelerates and provides impetus to radicalise Kashmiri youth, and Pakistan leaves no time to exploit the sad condition of narco -addicts. There is dire need to come together and fight the menace at earliest.
In the context of Jammu and Kashmir, certain terror groups operating in the region have been involved in the drug trade to fund their activities. It has been a hotspot of Pakistan sponsored insurgency for decades now. Various terror groups have been active in the region, almost all of them are engaged in narco-terrorism for their funding. This issue intersects with the youth of Kashmir in several ways.
Recruitment and Radicalization: Terror groups recruit young individuals in the region by exploiting their grievances and frustrations. The promise of financial incentives from drug trafficking is probably serving as a lure for recruitment.
Economic Factors: The youth of Kashmir, may face economic hardships, including limited access to education, employment, and stable income. In such circumstances, the allure of quick money from the drug trade is tempting, especially when presented by terror groups.
Social Pressures: The Pakistan-sponsored insurgency in Kashmir has created an environment of uncertainty and instability. In this context, youth feel pressured to conform to the actions and expectations of terror groups, including engaging in illegal activities like drug trafficking
Cycle of Violence: The engagement of young individuals in drug trafficking to support terror activities is perpetuating a cycle of violence. Funds generated from the drug trade are being used to buy weapons and finance other aspects of insurgency, leading to further security challenges and conflict in the region.
Community Concerns: Many members of the Kashmiri community are concerned about the involvement of youth in activities related to narco-terrorism. There can be efforts within the community to counter radicalization and provide alternative pathways for young people to engage in constructive activities.
Efforts to address the intersection of narco-terrorism and youth in Kashmir might include:
Youth Empowerment: Providing educational and vocational opportunities, as well as programs that promote entrepreneurship and skill development, can offer young people alternative avenues for advancement and financial stability.
Countering Radicalization: Initiatives aimed at countering radicalization and promoting values of peace, tolerance, and dialogue can play a crucial role in preventing youth from being drawn into terror groups.
Community Engagement: Engaging with local communities and religious leaders to create awareness about the negative impacts of narco-terrorism and the drug trade can help dissuade youth from participating in such activities.
Law Enforcement: Effective law enforcement and intelligence operations targeting drug trafficking networks and their links to terror groups will disrupt their funding sources and reduce their influence over young people.
(The author senior staff Greater Kashmir)