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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

Fighting drug menace, collectively

The police in Baramulla have roped in religious leaders to address the scourge of drug addiction. Society must come forward to join the noble initiative

Drug addiction is a pervasive issue that plagues societies worldwide, and Kashmir is no exception. However, amidst the challenges, there is hope and a growing realization that the solution to this menace must come from within the society itself.

The recent initiative by Baramulla Police, involving religious clerics in their campaign against drug abuse, is an inspiring example of collective action. It serves as a reminder that every section of society must contribute to the fight against drug addiction. A week ago, District Police Baramulla brought together around 200 religious clerics who lead daily and Friday prayers in their respective mosques. These respected figures participated in a daylong seminar and pledged to speak about the ill effects of drug addiction during Friday sermons. They also committed to actively support the Drug-Free campaign initiated by the Baramulla Police. The Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Baramulla Amod Ashok Nagpure during the seminar said the reason for involving religious clerics is clear - people look up to them with great respect and honor. These leaders hold a unique position in society as spiritual guides and mentors. Their influence is not limited to the religious realm; it extends to the moral and ethical aspects of life.

Recognizing this trust, the Police saw the need to include them in their efforts to combat drug addiction. The SSP Baramulla emphasized the dual fronts of the war against drugs: curbing the drug supply and reducing the demand. He said while law enforcement agencies play a crucial role in controlling supply, reducing demand requires a broader societal effort noting that if there is no demand for drugs, the drug trade will wither away. The SSP explained to the religious scholars the police play a crucial role in controlling the supply, and in the last eight months, the SSP that they registered over 225 FIRs under the NDPS act against drug peddlers, leading to the arrest of more than 350 drug peddlers. Additionally, more than 60 hardcore drug peddlers have faced action under the Public Safety Act (PSA). These individuals had amassed wealth in the millions over the years, all at the cost of ruining people's lives. Many of these drug peddlers are currently behind bars. The SSP said that they have also seized properties worth over two crores from some drug peddlers, including residential houses, land, vehicles, and cash.

The Baramulla Police's comprehensive campaign emphasizes community engagement and awareness. Various sections of society have been invited to join this endeavor. Community leaders, especially those leading prayers at the Jamia Masjid, have a significant influence. They obviously can guide and inspire their congregations to stay away from drugs and speak out against substance abuse during Friday sermons. As part of this campaign, Baramulla Police has created WhatsApp groups, including all clerics as members. They share videos of Friday prayers, spreading the anti-drug message not only within their locality but also beyond. This initiative, which began in Pattan when a cleric spoke against drug addiction during last Eid's prayers, has already started to yield results. The impact was visible just two days after the seminar was held as scores of videos were shared on social media with religious clerics speaking on drug addiction and its ill effects while urging the society members to play their role to curb the menace. Indeed the initiative is being seen as a powerful tool to spread the message and keep generations of youth away from the menace of substance abuse. It is a fact that the solution to this problem has to come from within the society after each and every individual will be part of the campaign. The religious clerics have taken a lead and it can be followed by others to save the youth from drug addiction.

Education is another critical avenue to combat drug addiction. Teachers, who are guardians of countless students, possess the power to bring about significant changes in society. By dedicating just five minutes during morning assemblies to speak about the dangers of drug addiction, teachers can make a profound impact. They need not organize elaborate seminars; their daily efforts within their respective schools can engage students in the campaign against drugs.

To conclude, the fight against drug addiction is a collective endeavor that demands the involvement of every section of society. The recent collaboration between Baramulla Police and religious clerics exemplifies the power of unity and shared responsibility. It serves as an inspiration for others to step forward and contribute to saving the youth from the clutches of drug addiction. This is the time when people should know and realise that our youth are falling to drugs and for this we have to make efforts to reduce the demand. Drugs have become a nightmare for Kashmir's young generation. While the Police have taken initiatives to address the supply side of the issue, reducing the demand is equally vital. By engaging religious leaders, educators, and community members, society can create a formidable front against the drug menace. Together, we can make Baramulla, and indeed every community, a drug-free zone. As voices from all corners of society rise against drug addiction, the demand for drugs will naturally decline, leading us toward a healthier and brighter future. Let’s save our young people falling prey to drugs.

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