Manipur: Christian body hosts discussion of drugs and poppy cultivation

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Imphal, April 14:  Christian leaders in Manipur discussed the impact of drugs and poppy in a one-day consultation of Christian leaders, civil society organisations and various stakeholders held in Hotel Imphal on Friday.

All Manipur Christian Organization (AMCO) organized the consultation programme on the topic “Drug Problems in Manipur: The Church Response (Impact, Strategy and Resolution”).

AMCO hosted the programme considering the undesirable colossal damaging impact of drugs and poppy cultivation on the youth, society, environment and ecosystem at large and to discuss and share ideas and views on the impact of drugs and poppy in the state.

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Churches have a great role to play in stopping poppy cultivation practices in hill areas of the state, said AMCO president Rev L Simon Raomai while talking to reporters on the sideline of the programme

He said that the Manipur government’s ‘war on drugs’ campaign is going on and without the support of the people and other stakeholders, the campaign would not be successful.

The campaign needed support from all sections of the society. Only when all come together to support the campaign, the drug menace could be rooted out from the state, he opined.

To achieve the goal of making Manipur free from drug menace, the Christian leaders leaders have a great role to play, he asserted.

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As poppy cultivation is primarily practiced in the hill areas of the state, the churches have a bigger role to play.

Church leaders should take a major role in creating awareness on the evil impact of the practice, he said.

To root out poppy cultivation from the state, there is the need to work at the grassroots level. Leaders of civil society organisations, students’ bodies and church leaders need to work at the grassroots level, Rev Raomai also said.

The resolution to be adopted by today’s consultation will be spread across the Christians across the hill areas of the state and AMCO will take a big role to stay away the youths from drugs, he said.

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During the first technical session of the programme, Rev Dr Satkai Chongloi, principal of Restoration Theological College, Imphal talked on “A Christian perspective on drugs and poppy plantation as a resource person, Dr RK Lenin Singh of Psychiatric department of RIMS, Imphal talked on “Impact of drugs on social and mental health while Dr Jamkhogen Lhungdim, associate professor of Central Agricultural University, Imphal on “Impact of poppy plantation and alternative crops/plants.

In the second technical session, Babloo Loitongbam, executive director of Human Rights Alert presented a paper on “Drug trade/poppy plantation: socio-economic and livelihood perspective while Dr James Starr, founder director of Vision 2020 Asia on “Christian perspective on drugs and its impact on the church while Birg Neil John, SM, deputy GOC of 57 Mountain Division on “Impact of drugs on youth and society.

The first session was moderated by Dr Thathang Vaiphei and the second session by Dr SK Luangamba.

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