IMPHAL: As many as 18 different organizations in Manipur proposed inclusion of a provision in the ‘Manipur State Policy on Substance Use, 2019′ for the handing over of investigation of any drug haul of large commercial quantity to any independent agency.
While releasing the draft ‘Manipur State Policy on Substance Use, 2019‘ in July this year, Manipur Social Welfare department had invited suggestions and objections to the draft policy, if any, from individuals and associations.
Accordingly, these 18 organisations submitted the draft proposal for inclusion of some provisions which included among others handing over of investigation of drug haul of large commercial quantity worth more than Rs 1 crore in the international market, especially those cases involved by any politically influential person/entity of the state, to an independent agency which is immune to political pressure such as NCB, CBI or NIA. The trial of such cases should be closely monitored by the High Court of Manipur, they further suggested.
Most of the high profile drugs haul cases in Manipur involving politicians and high ranking military personnel remained unresolved till date, the organisations alleged, citing the latest controversy around the trial of Loukhosei Zou as an instance.
“It is therefore extremely important to restore public faith in the Rule of Law and to ensure that justice is not only done, but also seen to be done,” they also suggested. Prompt, impartial and thorough investigation and free, fair and speedy trial should be conducted, the organisations also suggested.
They observed that Manipur is one of the worst affected states by drug trafficking in India. But the state government has not even framed clear rules under the NDPS, they pointed out.
“There is an urgent need to come up with clear rules to be followed for the law enforcement agencies while operating under NDPS Act,” they asserted while stating that many other lesser affected states/ union territories, such as Sikkim, Chandigarh etc. have already framed their own acts and rules. Instead of depending on adhoc SOPs, it will go a long way in strengthening and streamlining the law enforcement agencies combating the menace of drugs in Manipur, they added.
The organisations then demanded that drafting of this rule should be done by due consultations with relevant stakeholders including police officers, legal experts, NGOs, CBOs etc.
A provision to monitor the overall “supply reduction program” by constituting a commission/committee of various stakeholders including the Home department, NCB, NGOs, CBOs, CSOs and individual experts, under article 2.8 of the present draft policy also suggested.
While suggesting this, the organisations then stated that considering the complexity and magnitude of the problem, the issue of supply reduction cannot be seen only as a law and order problem to be dealt by law enforcement agencies alone.
At the time of arrest, the cooperation of civil society is sought by the law enforcement agencies. However, once the investigation commenced the civil society is kept in dark on the progress, they added.
Mention may be made here that while releasing the draft ‘Manipur State Policy on Substance Use, 2019’, it was envisaged to make Manipur free from substance use disorders by adopting multi-pronged strategies that include Drug Demand Reduction, Drug Supply Reduction and Harm Reduction. The policy will give special emphasis on keeping youth and children far from drugs under Demand Reduction strategy and youth and children would be provided information on ill effects of substance abuse to health, society and personal development.