Rajat Sharma

Leaders should rise above party politics on drugs issue

AKB30 India’s arch enemy Pakistan is working on a diabolical plan to push huge quantities of drugs into India to destroy our young generations. According to one report, Pakistan pushed more than 50,000 kg of heroin, opium, brown sugar and methamphetamine drugs into India during the last one year.

In my primetime show ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ telecast on Monday night on India TV, we showed a live video of an encounter between a joint team of Coast Guard and Gujarat Police ATS (anti-terror squad) with drug smugglers on high seas off the Gujarat coast. We also played an audio clip purportedly between two smugglers saying how it was becoming tough for them to push drugs into India via sea route.

On dark nights, these smugglers try to enter Indian coastal zone in small boats carrying drugs. Off the coastline of Gujarat’s Kutch region, drug smugglers in boats coming from Pakistan are being regularly caught by Coast Guard and Gujarat ATS.

The video that was telecast clearly shows how motor boats were first located with the help of searchlight and flares from a Coast Guard ship, and the joint team of ATS and Coast Guard giving warning to the smugglers to surrender. The operation took place near the international maritime boundary line. Normally, at night, it is very difficult to trace the maritime zone of a particular country.

In the video, the searchlight was on a large motor boat named ‘Al Haj’ which was moving towards India from Pakistan. The boat was traced through active surveillance. Despite repeated warnings, when the smugglers tried to flee, the Coast Guard ship followed them, and started firing at them. Finally, the smugglers surrendered.

Nine Pakistani smugglers were arrested with 56 kilograms of heroin, worth Rs 280 crore in international market. This was a big success for the joint team of Coast Guard and Gujarat ATS. The Pakistani motor boat was loaded with pipes, and heroin packets were stuffed inside those pipes. Among those arrested were the son and son-in-law of a known Pakistani drug smuggler Haji Hassan.

During interrogation of the Pakistani smugglers, it was revealed that the drugs were meant for ‘receivers’ sitting in Delhi, who forward them to Punjab, UP and Uttarakhand. After Gujarat ATS shared the details with Narcotics Control Bureau, raids were conducted in Jamia Nagar and Shaheen Bagh of Delhi and in Muzaffarnagar, western UP. After raids, 351 kg heroin was seized. Members of India drug mafia Razi Haider, Imran and Avtar Singh alias Sunny were arrested.

After getting details from Indian smugglers, nearly 100 kg heroin was seized near Wagah-Attari India-Pakistan border in Punjab. Some more suspects are also being traced. The supply route of narcotics is usually from Afghanistan, and from there, it is sent to Iran and Pakistan, and later the drugs are pushed into India. The heroin seized on Gujarat coast was meant to be diluted in secret locations around Delhi. An Afghan citizen was hired by the local drug mafia to dilute heroin in Delhi. This Afghan national has been arrested.

The DIG of Gujarat ATS, Deepan Bhadran, told India TV correspondent Nirnay Kapoor that in the last two years, his squad arrested 65 drug smugglers, including 30 from Pakistan, 17 from Iran, two Afghans and one Nigerian. Bhadran said, 25,700 kg drugs of varied qualities worth several thousands crores of rupees were seized during the last six months.

Drug traffickers sitting in Pakistan are now worried. In ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ show, we played an audio clip purportedly between two Pakistani smugglers, who were saying that it was now difficult to push drugs into India.

In the audio clip, the caller tells a person named Hashimbhai, saying “I met the Nakhuda’ (captain of vessel) but he refused to land the drugs at the point that I told. He said, India’s vigil on seas is now not limited to 190 nautical miles, but up to 400 nautical miles. Don’t take the risk. Even if anybody takes out an Iranian vessel, he will not succeed, and will be caught. I tried to persuade the Nakhuda (captain) for two days. Nobody is ready to go. They are saying, its better to commit suicide. The captain said, it’s not possible for Iranian vessels to do this.”

In another part of the audio clip, the caller said, “Jamnagar, Rajkot and Porbandar are 180 to 200 nautical miles away. He said, it is impossible to land our consignment safely. He said, there is not one per cent chance of sneaking inside. He told me, who doesn’t like money? Five persons carrying consignment, if they stay alive, only then they can work. ..You know what’s the situation here. Sending consignment by Irani launches is riskier. Tell Bhai, it is impossible to take the single route that is available. Forget Iranian launches for now. Even if they send by Iranian ship, it will come within their (India’s) range. It is so dangerous.”

On Monday, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra posted almost identical tweets, posing questions to the Centre. Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “In Gujarat’s Mundhra port, 3,000 kg drugs worth Rs 21,000 were seized in September, 2021, 56 kg drugs worth Rs 500 cr were seized in May, 2022 and 75 kg drugs worth Rs 375 were seized in July 2022. Who are the persons sitting in double-engine government giving protection to drugs-liquor mafia? Are the youths of Gujarat being pushed to become addicts? My questions: 1. After seizure of drugs thrice at a single port, how come drugs are still being unloaded at that port? 2. Is there no law and order in Gujarat? Has the drug mafia no fear of law? Or, is it a government belonging to mafia?” AAP MP Sanjay Singh asked, “Has Mundhra port become a hub for drug smugglers?”

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra replied: “ Remember, the biggest terror attack on India took place via sea route during Congress rule. When the terror attacks took place in Mumbai, Rahul Gandhi was busy partying with his friends, and today he is raising questions.”

India TV correspondent asked DIG ATS Dipen Bhadran about this. He said, “there has been a bumper crop of opium in Afghanistan and Iran this year. Under Taliban regime, drugs smuggling from Afghanistan has increased. That is why, huge quantities of drugs are being seized in India.”

Home Minister Amit Shah has taken a tough policy against narcotics. On July 30, the Narcotics Control Bureau, in Shah’s virtual presence from Chandigarh, set fire to more than 30,000 kg of narcotics seized in Delhi, Chennai, Guwahati and Kolkata. Amit Shah said, last year “we took a pledge to destroy 75,000 kg of drugs, and I am now happy to say that till today we have incinerated 82,000 kg and will reach the one lakh kg mark by August 15.”

Shah said, 81 per cent of drugs seized come by sea route, but now the government has blocked all routes to put an end to the drug menace. “We must protect future generations by combating drug trafficking’, he said.

I would rather praise Amit Shah for taking tough action against drug mafia. During the present regime, more than double quantities of smuggled drugs were seized compared to the UPA regime.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last year fixed a target of seizing Rs one lakh crore worth drugs by August 15 this year, and Home Minister Amit Shah is working hard to achieve that target.

These are not mere data and statistics. They show how measures were taken to save the country from grave risks. Once you meet families whose young ones were devastated due to drugs, you can realize the enormity of the danger. I have seen several families where the lives of their dear young ones were destroyed due to drugs. Who does not know the people who converted a ‘Happy and Carefree Punjab’ to ‘Udta Punjab’? Rave parties took place in hostels and events organized by school and college students, where drugs were freely used.

On the issue of narcotics, I feel both the ruling party and opposition must jointly fight this menace. Youths easily become victims of drugs and the nation is the ultimate loser. On such issues, leaders should rise above party politics and speak out.
At a time when security agencies are risking their lives to catch smugglers and foil Pakistani designs, one is surprised to see Rahul Gandhi linking drug seizures to allege collusion with drug mafia. He should be praising our security forces.

Get connected on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Comments are closed.