Kashmir Rights Forum

Month: July 2022

On 29 July, a major success was achieved by security forces against nefarious designs of terrorists who were of the intent to spread their terror activities in the valley. In north Kashmir’s Kupwara, police along with Army’s 28 RR arrested two hybrid terrorists and recovered four pistols, eight pistol magazines, 130 pistol rounds and ten hand grenades from them.
One terrorist Shamim Ahmad Khan belonging to Kawari Laderwan was nabbed who was carrying, in his possession, one bag containing ten (10) hand grenades. While the other accomplice jumped in the fields with a backpack bag and fled away. However after a hectic chase and search, the terrorist Talib Ahmad Sheikh resident of Ledarwan Kawari Kupwara was apprehended from a shop located at Badi Bhera Lolab. From the search of the backpack bag, four pistols, eight pistol magazines and 140 live rounds of the pistol were recovered. Kashmir Rights Forum hails security forces for thwarting the threat that was set to loom on the valley. We are highly hopeful that such inimical elements would fail to spread their network given the alertness of security forces and proper cooperation from local citizenry.

According to experts, Afghanistan and Pakistan, which are breeding grounds for terrorists, have emerged as unsavoury joint ventures constituting several arms and narcotics traffickers, insurgent outfits and organised crime syndicates.

The Haqqani network was discussed in the Asialyst piece along with how close it is to the Pakistani intelligence agencies and how it materialises the connection between the criminal underworld and the nebula of radical terrorism.

‘The Convergence of the Narcotics Underworld and Extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Its Global Proliferation’ by David R Winston highlights a number of issues, including the Pakistan-Afghanistan Drug Trade in Historical Perspective.

The Narco-Insecurity, Inc. report claims that this was made possible with the aid of Pakistan’s ISI, which carried out a number of covert operations with sympathetic jihadist groups and launched the Balkan, northern, and southern routes of the global narcotics trafficking pipeline. These groups all heavily relied on drug trafficking to fund their operations.

The largest of these was the Haqqani network, a criminal organisation based on smuggling, that was located along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. Given its position and connections to several jihadist organisations, the Haqqani network was seen by the ISI as a crucial ally. As a result, the ISI allegedly started funding its facilities and utilising it as a front for dealing with other non-state actors.

The report also articulates about the criminal world and narcotic traffickers that depend on state business or secret services and concentrate on the collusion of interests, along with the association of Afghan and Pakistani actors.

Since Afghanistan’s takeover by the Taliban in August last year, the Afghan drug industry is blossoming and now the close relations with Pakistan unite drug trafficking actors and those involved in radical violence and terrorism, particularly in Pakistan, the article reported citing the publication.

According to the publication, a strong network is developing as more and more radical, terrorist, and extremist organisations are being funded by today’s drug trade for their nefarious goals, such as attacks or assassinations. It jumbles up everyone’s duties and permits the funding of terrorist activities.

It also sheds light on the functioning of Afghan and Pakistan societies, along with the radical deviations, and double-dealing of the officials, adding that after the Taliban came to power in 1996, there was the expansion of poppy opium production and drug trafficking which was obligated to Pakistan and in particular, its intelligence services.

Terrorist and rug kingpin Dawood Ibrahim, who was involved in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, is said to be residing in a Pakistani territory despite their denial, the article read.

The publication cited the innovations that terrorist outfits use to launder their illegal income. They invest in genuine firms operating in real estate, construction or maritime transport to “protect” their assets as “good” asset managers along with the stock market, in particular in the financial centre of Karachi.

Kashmiris should take a serious note of the pathetic political, economic and security situation of Pakistan. For very long, people with beneficial Pakistani connections and vested interests have painted a false narrative of the sun of Azaadi rising from the Pakistani side. This false narrative has led to tremendous loss of lives over three decades. With Pakistan failing on all accounts, time has come for Kashmiris to slash the moorings of false dreams weaved by the Pakistani schemers and move on to the path of peace. We have to understand that Pakistan can give us nothing but blood and tears.

The security situation has worsened after Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan which was prematurely celebrated by Pakistan. The Taliban became assertive on the Durand Line and the reunification of Pashtun lands on both sides of the line started gaining ground. The TTP also got emboldened and started giving a bloody nose to Pakistan Army. The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) has too become notably active and violent. Recently, it abducted and killed an officer of Pakistan Army.

Pakistan clearly is heading towards an implosion. These days, people of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), are agitating on the roads against government’s apathy and abject neglect. Their so called Prime Minister cried during an official speech citing dire straits of affairs and total disregard of POK by the federal government. On accounts of prosperity, health, employment, development, business opportunities, civic amenities etc, POK lags behind abysmally. Recently in a significant gesture, people of POK protested against Pakistan Government in front of the UN troops. They are even expressing desire to get merged with Jammu and Kashmir. If Pakistan cannot look after the Kashmir it occupies, it would be naïve to believe in their lofty promises for us. Last month, Kashmiri students were brutally attacked at Islamabad’s Qaid-e- Azam University. Large numbers of Kashmiris are being forcefully settled faraway in Sindh. Gilgit-Baltistan is on sale to China. The TV interviews of people of Pakistan tell us that it is not Kashmiri people that Pakistan wants to embrace but their ulterior motive is to grab the natural resources especially rivers of Jammu and Kashmir. Why rivers? It is because, Pakistan ranks 14 out of 17 “extremely high water risk” countries in the world and more than 80 percent of the country’s population faces “severe water” economic situation is so pathetic that the country has approached IMF bailout for the twenty second time. The strict IMF preconditions have led to excessive price rise of essential commodities including fuel and cooking oil. Foreign reserves are barely enough for essential imports for two months. People have been advised to drink less tea to reduce import bills. Public is sick of the unprecedented inflation and corruption. Reportedly, half of Pakistan could not sacrifice goats during Eid this time due to the exorbitant prices. The political situation is as always wobbly. The ousted Prime Minister is hell bent to snatch back power from the ‘imported hukumat’ which in turn is being run on proxy from England by an ex Prime minister accused of graft.

In the fields of education, employment, health, women empowerment, trade, development and international reputation etc Pakistan has slipped to the lowest ranks. Unprecedented inflation, blatant corruption and unstable political situation have led to social unrest and people are even talking about possibility of a civil war in Pakistan.

Protesters shout Anti-Pakistan slogans in POK
Protesters shout Anti-Pakistan slogans in POK

In spite of being in such a quagmire, ISI and Pakistan army are still sending terrorists to Kashmir. They do it to remain relevant to the citizens and divert their attention from government’s total failure on all accounts. The dwindling support to terrorism in Kashmir has forced ISI and Pakistan Army to use novel and wicked ideas to disturb peace. They are now brain washing young Kashmiri boys to kill fellow Kashmiris. There is also an increase in number of attacks on police personnel. At the end of the day, Kashmiris are getting killed.

Akhir kabtak hum Pakistan ko Kashmir mein khoon bahanedenge? Our silence is our biggest fault. The perpetrators of terrorism take advantage of our silence and society’s fault lines of cast, social status and region. We cannot expect anything from our opportunist politicians who do not condemn terrorism…..or from the separatists who have their property and families abroad…..or from the cyber warriors who spread venom of hatred….or from the weak and scared intelligentsia. We the common people will have to raise our voice against violence and Pakistan sponsored terrorism. Even symbolic steps like candle light vigils and peaceful marches have the power to change things. The traditional attitude of leaving everything to the administration will be unwise. The society has to play its role. Student bodies, trade unions, market associations, civilian clubs and groups….everyone should condemn violence. Above all, we as parents must be talk of peace and positivity at homes.

Courtesy : Mir Mohsin

How could three terror modules succeed in gaining foothold in Jammu and Rajouri districts and how could series of arms consignments from across the border reach their destinations and how come drones mostly succeed in dropping such lethal consignments of arsenal must be clarified by our intelligence and Police authorities . While seven Lashkar-eToiba operatives have been captured comprising three from Jammu and four from Rajouri and the Police personnel deserve a pat on the back, at the same time , the question remains as to how the anti Indian and anti national enemies could reach this ”high” in their nefarious designs so as to have established terror modules and were busy hatching conspiracies and chalking strategies to effect target killings of prominent politicians and religious heads by using silencers fitted pistols . As per police version based on pointed inputs and information gathered , not only was the nefarious plot of disrupting Shree Amarnath pilgrimage by attacking it hatched but to rattle the city with blasts on August 15, the Independence day too was on the agenda of the terrorists. It is , however, a matter of great relief that the conspiracy now stands fully exposed and hence the terror modules smashed . It is equally surprising and astonishing that in the populous area of Talab Khatika in Jammu city , a huge cache of arms and ammunition should be found and seized from a residential house .

How it reached there and who in fact are involved in this entire structure of terror module must be fully known. It is likely that there could be more of such houses where arms could have been hidden to be retrieved for and at the time of executing acts of violence .The Drone ”syndrome” has become synonymous with the belligerent neighbour in extreme chicanery and satanic designs and intents and thus employed it as a fastest means to carry consignment of arms from across the border to drop in Indian side which their agents like the apprehended operatives picking up and ferrying up to the militant hideouts. It is really a matter of great concern that there have been as many as 20 such attempts of consignments of arms and explosives dropped by Pakistani drones quite ”successful” from across the border to the extent of ensuring the arsenal reached up to the destinations of militants . It is also a fact that many a time such attempts are thwarted by our security forces and vigilant villagers near the border.

Constantly changing the pattern and the strategies of Pakistani sponsored terrorism can be seen just by three things – one dropping arms and explosives through drones near different villages along the International border , two– small arms like pistols now used for acts of violence and top of it being the same fitted with silencers as silencer pistols have been recovered from the arrested militants and three — cash amounting to Rs.80000 to Rs.1 lakh carried by every drone thus circumventing to a larger extent, the impact of going strict on money laundering by the Government which has been a major source of funding terror activities and sustaining the spells of violence and blood spilling in Jammu and Kashmir. A total amount of Rs.25 lakh in genuine Indian currency having reportedly been received through these drones by the arrested terrorists has been confirmed by them though Rs.4-5 lakh in cash has been recovered too. However, the question is as to how long shall the scourge of this proxy war fought against the country by our belligerent neighbour go on continuously on our soil and how long shall it become a ”routine” for our police, security forces and other agencies to witness this satanic bloody ping pong being played all against us by Pakistan in utter disguise? When shall there be an end to reporting with heavy hearts but with indignation, through these columns, death and blood spilling on account of militant violence ? Can there be any such instance in any part of the world by any country to go on enduring this cancer for decades as if a fait accompli, to be honest, is to be answered more by the opposition parties of the country than by the Government. This country cannot carry on with this malaise indefinitely which is not only causing loss of lives both civilian as well as those of the security forces and property as also hampering the process of development but is a drain on the economy being the cost of fighting it out and taking pre-emptive measures . In any case, let it be resolutely reiterated that Jammu division on the whole cannot be allowed to go the Kashmir way , which, therefore, calls for going beyond routine mechanism of fighting the problem of growing tentacles of Pakistan sponsored terrorism very effectively and sternly.

The residents from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir stopped the United Nations’ vehicle and shouted “Pakistani forces go back go back”, “We want freedom” and “Stop killing in Kashmir.”

Sharing the video of the protest, an anonymous person tweeted, “People from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir are shouting slogans “Pakistani forces go back go back”, “We want freedom” and “Stop killiing in Kashmir”, stopping United Nations @UN vehicle in the middle of the road.”

The protest in PoK region has become common now-a-days. Earlier, there were protests going on in Skardu, Gilgit and some other parts with the support of Anjuman-e-Imamia, Majlis-e-Wahdat-ul-Muslimeen, civil society and Jamaat-e-Islami, Baad-e-Shimal Edit newspaper reported.

Even though the government has convinced the protestors that the arrested persons would be released soon, several basic issues like load shedding, inflation, and the lease of lands need to be addressed on a war footing.

The Gilgit-Baltistan government is not making serious efforts despite people looking for a way out of their problems.

If the matter of the arrest of the Imamia community members is not resolved as soon as possible, it will be a challenge for the government writ which looks very weak, local media reported.

The people of Gilgit Baltistan have been resisting Pakistan for misuse of powers in the occupied territory for the past 74 years.

Recently, they held protests in Gilgit, condemning the arrest of 13 political activists on October 13, 2005. In 2009, a military court awarded them life sentences.

Earlier on Monday, the Jaffaria community chief Agha Rahat Hussein Al-Hussein expressed concern over the release of 13 youths who were given life imprisonment.

Anjuman-e-Imamiya also protested over the issue as the current Gilgit-Baltistan government had promised their release in two months but so far no action has been taken in this regard, reported local media.

Women and children from the Jaffaria community continued protests for the sixth day and Shia leaders have warned that if this issue was not resolved and the 13 men were not released, there would be protests everywhere.

Further talks about Gilgit-Baltistan’s constitutional status and rights were demanded by Jamat-e-Islami Pakistan vice president and Milli Yakjehti Council Sec-Gen Liaquat Baloch.

He said that the party in Gilgit-Baltistan will continue the struggle for constitutional status along with the rights of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Pakistani authorities have finalised a law (26th Constitutional Amendment Bill) to award provisional provincial status to strategically located Gilgit-Baltistan.

Gilgit-Baltistan is an autonomous region now and after the bill is passed, it will become the 5th province of the country.

On 17 July, one CRPF ASI succumbed to his injuries after terrorists attacked a naka party of CRPF and J&K Police in Srinagar.  Assistant Sub Inspector of CRPF was attacked at Gangoo cross of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. The martyred CRPF officer Vinod Kumar was a resident of Farukkabad area of Uttar Pradesh. Since January 1, 2022 around two dozen security personnel which included 12 JKP personnel have been killed in various operations, incidents of terrorist violence in the Kashmir valley. Out of these two dozen security personnel 11 belonged to other central para military forces ,jawans of the Indian army. KRF condemns the attack in strong words, such dastard attacks shall never down the spirits of security forces, who lay their lives to clean the valley from terrorists

Literal: O! sweet home. I shall sacrifice thousand homes to you, never to leave your door. There is an old Kashmir saying, Shayi Chukhi Zi Jayi Chukho, if you are at the home, you are in the safest palace.

In simple words, it denotes the love everyone has for his/her home so much so that one does not find so much comfort & happiness in thousand other homes as one has in his/her own home.

One does not consider thousand houses even worth one’s own home. So, it is that love for one’s home that one does not want to go away from it. One wants to be always near his home & family.

“Amid pleasures & palaces though we may roam, be it ever so humble, there is no place like home” in the world, J H Payne’s famous lines. Wherever our destiny takes us in life, it is always the home which is close to our heart.

Homesickness also springs from the nostalgic home feeling & attachment. It is expression of natural human feeling & tendency to feel always at home within one’s home & with family.

Home gives a sense of safety & security which is real in terms of its application with the home. Its appropriate English equivalent is East or West; home is the best, which appeared in English literature in second half of the 19th century.

First time in 1859, an Anglophone linguist & translator, Kelly [d.1867] while compiling the proverbs in different languages used the proverb in English about affection & feeling of home.

French & Italian near to equal idiom is: “To every bird its nest is fair”. If a bird is taken hundreds of miles away, it will find its way back. “East & West, at home the best: goes translation of German proverb, “Ost und West, daheim das Best”, writes Kelly.

“The reek of my own house,” says the Spaniard, is better than the fire of another’s.” “The same feeling is expressed with less energy, but far more tenderly, in a beautiful Italian proverb, which loses greatly by translation:”

Home, my own home, tiny though thou be, to me thou seemest an abbey.” In the Italian language, there are two other analogous proverbs viz: “My home, my mother’s breast” & “Tie me hand and foot, and throw me among my own, “ Kelly adds.

It may not be out of place to mention here about a correlated interesting episode of pre-colonial days of the subcontinent. In the context of the countries that were likely to emerge & shape up in post-colonial period of India & Middle East, there is an interesting episode of pre-1947 days.

There was a Kashmiri who was mentally disturbed by drawing unnecessary comparison between small & big countries and swayed by the enormity of size and shape of the big ones.

One day, he met & asked a wiseman: If we have a country of our own, it will be a small, tiny country, geographically & topographically, I mean, & isn’t it better to merge with some big country of the world. The wiseman responded:

“East or West, home is the best, you have to remember! It is always better to have & live in one’s own home even if a shanty-hut than to rely on & live in the palaces of others which will be always having their royal eyes & guards there to watch & control your free movement”.

There is an old Afghan Pashto proverb about the beauty of Kashmir which everyone desires to have at home. Har châta khpal watan kashmir de. Its translation goes like this:

“To everyone his home is Kashmir — i.e., very good”. But, younger generations of Afghanistan feel proud of the “barren lands” of their country over lush green forests of the valley.

There are other proverbs related to home. They are: Gharih Ghate Te Mashidi Tchong which literally means darkness in home but light in the masjid. It connotes the idea of being miser & hard with the family, at home, but spendthrift & liberal with others, away from home.

Bad to one’s own, good to others, outward show but miserly at home, what is the utility of such show of goodness? There is a Hadith from the Holy Prophet [PBUH] that poor relatives should be given preference in distribution of Zakat which is obligatory in Islam. Its Western equivalent is charity should always begin at home.

In Kashmiri, an old idiom is, Bechin Iza, Te Putlin Puza, which literally means distress to the family-members, offerings to the idols. In English, it is, darkness in the hearth, while light in the church.

One should always practice his being liberal, kind & good at home with family members first & then he can be being so with others, as well. Gode Gov Panas Pate Genzravnas is its equivalent in Kashmiri.

What home means can be better explained by the homeless people who wander from place to place without a permanent abode of comfort for living.

The home is the fruit of a lot of struggle, labour, time, energy & money spent on its realisation which is like a dream coming true over period of years for most of the middle & lower-middle class people who raise it over several years.

Home is one among the basic needs of human beings. Many homes are lost to the vis major, the irresistible & inevitable acts of God, like floods & earthquakes.

Mysterious fires & conflagrations in the valley these days, & destruction of built-homes by bulldozers in Palestine & elsewhere, have reduced many homes to the ashes of tragic sadness & with that, the owners’ hard acquired possessions, valuables & other chattel have been completely destroyed in the blazes of the fires & conflagrations, & the blades of the State-bulldozers.

It is said that the State owns houses but not a home. Home is private enterprise. It is shocking & devastating for the victims who only know the pangs of losing homes that were built over decades and that valued emotionally much more than physical estimations of the loss.

Physical loss can be measured but there is no scale to measure the loss of emotions, hopes & dreams one attaches with one’s home. According to the reports of local Dailies, 560 Crore property has been damaged in fire incidents in last six years in Kashmir [KO 30-04-22] of which 2.5 billion rupees property has been lost in just first three months of 2022 in 146 fire incidents across Kashmir[RK 6-4-22].

A house has a corporeal existence. A home is much more than a physical entity. A house is built by bricks, stones & cement but a home is built by hearts, love & care. “Home is not merely four square walls…..Home is where affection calls.” (Charles Swain). Past-life was simple & honest, unlike today’s life fraught with excessive show off & ritzy inclination.

People lived in joint families with contentment about whatever little they had before the modern nuclear-families replaced them with unending farce competitions & mad race for insatiable accumulations.

People took pride in saying: My home may be small but my heart is big enough to accommodate many for a sound sleep which millions crave for in this age!

Courtesy : M. J. Aslam

On July 13, a Jammu and Kashmir Police officer was killed and two constables were injured when terrorists attacked a police team in the outskirts of the city. The incident happened around 7.15 pm when the terrorists fired upon the police naka in Lal Bazar. An assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Mushtaq Ahmad was killed while the two constables, Fayaz Ahmad and Abu Bakar, were injured in the attack. KRF strongly condemns the dastard attack on police cops. These attacks shall have no effect on spirits of security forces, who are all time ready to tackle these dastard attacks with full fury.

On July 03, a policeman was attacked by terrorists in Bewoora area of Bijbehara. In the attack, JKP cop Firdous Ahmad received leg injuries, upon which he was immediately hospitalized at 92 base military hospital. Since the last four weeks, a lull in terror operations was witnessed, given the determined efforts of the security agencies to completely sweep the terrorism in the valley. KRF condemns the terror attack on innocent police cop.

Pakistan’s mixed warfare strategies in Jammu and Kashmir continue to pose a challenge to the security forces. When a neighbouring country is bent upon proxy warfare, constant alert and proactive strategy are vital for national security.

Earlier, Pakistan’s proxy war in Kashmir was mainly waged through infiltration of trained militants into the Valley. With social media, Pakistan has written new chapters on violent acts of extremism. Pakistan has intensified the dark spectacle of radical extremism, using e-jihad to brainwash and galvanize vulnerable youth. Narco terror is emerging as the fuel for this proxy war. This is evident from the drugs confiscated by the Army and the security forces, the investigations made by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), and the data available with the Jammu and Kashmir Department of Health. This strategy is double-edged. It is employed for direct creation of funds to finance terrorism in the Valley. It is also used to weaken the youth of Kashmir and make them fall prey to drugs.

Kashmir Youth Being Caught In The Drug Trap

Over the past several months, the army, police, and other agencies have conducted successful operations and have recovered not only weapons but also large consignments of narcotics. Army intelligence sources reveal that there are strong links between Kashmiri militants and drug trafficking in Punjab.

In the last few years, national media has focused much on the drug abuse among the youth of Punjab. But the scenario in Kashmir too is bad. Five years ago, a report published by the United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) estimated that there are around 70,000 thousand people who are drug addicts in Kashmir division. Approximately 31% of them were stated to be women. The situation is worse now. It is mostly the Kashmiri youth which have been caught in the drug trap. According to the date at Government Psychiatric Hospital, Srinagar, about 90% drug abusers are in the age group of 17-35. There have been several media reports that opium cultivation is being taken up, especially in South Kashmir, to finance militant violence and foment trouble. The alarming trend of drug use among Kashmiri youth is partly due to the social and psychological effects of protracted conflict, unemployment and family/social problems. There is also a bigger design at work, with Pakistan intent on damaging the already stressed social and moral fabric of the Valley.

Proceeds from heroin smuggling used to finance militant activities

After the Taliban occupation of Afghanistan, there are fears that drug trafficking in Kashmir may increase. According to a 2018 report by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, the Taliban earned 60 percent of their income from the drug trade. These same narcotics are channeled into India through Pakistan. A senior police officer in Kashmir told KZINE that following serious action by law enforcement agencies against hawala operators in recent years, Pakistani agencies have crossed the Line of Control to push terrorism, narcotics trade and fake currency. In 2019, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) cited “illicit arms, drugs and counterfeit currency traps” as the reasons for the closure of trade across the LoC.

When trade across the LoC was shut down, narco-trading started flourishing. Some of those arrested in the drug trade were from terrorist organizations like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Proceeds from heroin smuggling are used to militant activities. In this connection, National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Afaq Ahmad Wani, a bank manager from Handwara in North Kashmir. Wani was stated to be part of a drug syndicate. 21 kg heroin and over Rs 1.35 crore in cash were seized from the drug syndicate. The total cash recovered as part of the investigations is said to be over Rs 200 crore. The police raid also uncovered a cash counting machine – commonly found in banks. This indicates that a large amount of money was transferred to terrorist networks.

In 2019, Jammu and Kashmir Police confiscated over 200 kg of heroin. Last year, 152 kg of heroin and 49 kg of brown sugar were seized from different parts of the tribal areas in the Union Territory.

Anti-Drug Task Force, De-Addiction Centers

Assessing the gravity of the problem, the Jammu and Kashmir government last year constituted an Anti-Drug Task Force (ANTF) to tackle the growing menace of drug terrorism in the region. But despite repeated campaigns, heroin use has reached alarming levels. The seriousness of the problem can be gauged from the admission to the De-Addiction Center (DDC) of Government Medical College, Srinagar. A total of 6,234 patients were admitted to the De-Addiction Center during the lockdown, from April 2020 to June 2021. More than 95% of them were addicted to heroin. Dr. Yasir Rather, DDC In-charge in Srinagar said that the number of people treated for heroin use is just a grain of a mustard seed compared to the total figure of addicts. The exact number of addicts is much higher. The easy availability of heroin over the past two or three years is a big reason for the spurt in cases,” said Dr. Yasir Rather.

Youngsters Introduced To Drugs By Peers – Case Study Of Ahmad And Manzoor Dar

Ahmad’s forays into drugs began in 2013, when he was pursuing MBA in Delhi. When he returned to Kashmir on a two-week leave in 2018, he was introduced to heroin. “Some of my childhood friends started taking heroin. They gave me the first two doses for a kick. The first time I took it in. The second time, it was injected into my veins,” Ahmad said. He was recently admitted to the de-addiction center in Srinagar.

In 2019, Ahmad became a regular drug addict and lost his job. “I got a call from an old acquaintance who had joined the militants. He offered me Rs 2 lakh to deliver me one kg of heroin in Shopian. I agreed. At the address where I delivered the packet, I was given Rs 18 lakh in cash, which I gave to my militant friend. He gave me Rs 2 lakh as reward,” said Ahmad. “A few weeks later, the militant was killed in a clash with the security forces. I continued to use heroin until last month, when my parents admitted me the de-addiction center.” Manzoor Dar (name changed) from North Kashmir’s Baramulla district is now 27. He started taking heroin in the company of friends. Manzoor says that he did not face shortage of money at home. But after he started taking drugs, he began making excuses to take more and more money from his parents. His mother brought him to the drug de-addiction centre, and he was able to quit drug abuse. Manzoor says he used to go to border areas to buy heroin, since it was easily available there.

Drugs “Bigger Challenge” Than Terrorism

Jammu and Kashmir Police has recognized the growing menace of narco-terrorism as a major challenge in the last few years. In early July 2018, Shesh Paul Vaid, then police chief of Jammu and Kashmir, had termed drugs as a “bigger challenge” than terrorism in the region. Police had to work 24X7 to address this menace. His successor Dilbag Singh had expressed similar concerns. The erstwhile state government provided land to the police to set up a full-fledged de-addiction center near Idgah in Srinagar. A similar facility was provided in Jammu. The government was considering the proposal to provide drug de-addiction sections in district hospitals all over the state. All these initiatives are good, but they are largely reactionary and defensive. The police and the security forces shall have to initiate concrete and proactive action to break the drug supply chain.

The history of terrorism in the Valley shows that social anarchy in Kashmir is a deliberate tactic adopted by Pakistan for decades. The proxy war is unlikely to end soon. First Kashmir lost its Pandits, and then we lost an entire generation to gun culture. It is tragic to witness that we are losing our youth to drug abuse.

Pakistan has continuously upgraded and calibrated its proxy and hybrid warfare strategies in Kashmir. The Indian state can no longer afford to be caught on the back foot. It is extremely important to initiate action that shall stem the evil designs of Pakistan in Kashmir.