Leader Writer: Wangkheimayum Bhupendra Singh
February, the shortest month of the year, has ended now leaving behind a trail of unresolved issues. For the shortest month, it certainly had enough time to create quite a ruckus in the state. The last week of the month has been a hectic week by all standards with the arrests of several highly placed individuals including a Public Relation Officer (PRO) of Defence Wing (Imphal); an assistant manager of a private airliner; the son of a MLA along with huge haul of drugs. These incidents remained in the limelight, arresting the undivided and uninterrupted attention from the general public. The incidents nonetheless left a big question before the public over the character of the government and its agencies both state and central. Public outcry, which had already been initiated over the drug issue since the seizure of a huge contraband consignment from the Imphal Airport and the subsequent disbanding of the SIU only gained in momentum. Considering its proximity with the infamous Golden Triangle, the state has always been considered a transit point for drug trafficking and there is no denying the fact that the state has faced its brunt though the level of severity had differed from time to time. The state DGP following in the footsteps of the state Home Minister who is also the state Deputy Chief Minister, had assured all actions against those found involved in the drugs related cases as per the law of the land which comes as a welcome effort. The actions of the state police force have also been commendable so far which has enabled the force to gain some lost public confidence and faith. It has also provided a kind of assurance to the general public that not all is lost and we can still hope. Arrests have been made even as many consider the revelations to be just the tip of a much larger iceberg. On its side, the government has already announced its stand on the issue while the public has started its agitations. But the need of the hour is for the government to act out on its assurance and send out a message to the general public that it is still the people’s government. Considering the profoundness of the issue at hand, the government should not remain silent with a few assurances. The issue needs some serious consideration and action from the government. However, considering the status and standings of the arrested individuals, the common speculation amongst the general public is that the police will wilt under pressure from several well connected quarters.
The drug trade is not an ordinary trade and it cannot be carried out without the backing of certain powerful elements. This is where the government needs to assure the general public that it will not wilt under any pressure and let law take its own course. India has two major drug laws – the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (1985) and the Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (1985). Under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (1985) which has already been amended twice, it is illegal for a person who is an Indian Citizen to produce, manufacture, cultivate, possess, sell, purchase, transport, store, and/or consume any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance, while the Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (1985) ensures full implementation of the first. There is a need for the government to ensure that the Acts are fully implemented and enacted in the state in a proper manner. The state government is answerable to the people of the state and the people have every right to asked for government action for the betterment of the society. At this moment, one can only wait and watch the government’s move and hope for the best.