Assam home guard, Borsing Bay refusing a hefty bribe from drug dealer in exchange of safe passage of high-quality crystal methamphetamine said to be valued at Rs 12 Crore is a stimulating case of sincerity and call of duty combined. The story made headlines in national and regional news outlets because it hit the right note with many. Borsing Bay’s selfless and honest act earned him a reward of Rs. one lakh, additionally to be appointed as constable in Assam police, however he surely must have earned the eyes of drug mafias and drug peddlers for the huge loss. All that aside, Assam government did the right thing in acknowledging his honesty.
Besides all the noise, what’s worth noting is that the intercepted truck was found to have come from Manipur.
Let’s agree that Manipur government’s campaign sloganeer, ‘War on Drugs’ have seen tremendous result in shutting down cluster of illegal poppy plantations to nabbing of drug peddlers in the corridor of Manipur east, spread across the state on war footing. But let us also agree that the process demands sincerity and devotion to duty by all law enforcement agencies in proactively handling the drug menace in the state, and not just reducing it to the level of optics.
A good example to emulate here is that of Peh village in Ukhrul district voluntarily destroying poppy plants grown in their village to mark joining and supporting the state government’s campaign on ‘War on Drugs’. Chief minister of Manipur, N Biren Singh in February 2021 awarded Peh village Rs 10 lakhs and earned the village a Role Model title to entice other villagers to taking similar path.
However, on the flip side, the government’s award to Peh village, if that was the end of it without providing alternative and robust livelihood means and model for the villagers, not necessarily Peh, say in horticulture, agriculture, fishery etc etc. the chances that such village creeping back to the original sin looms large.
The huge jump in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act cases in Northeast and particularly in Manipur on interception, seizing and arrest of drug smugglers by Manipur police Narcotic cell and Assam Rifles has been so much so that it has become part of routine news headlines readers seems to just scroll past.
As we stand at the threshold of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, let us also acknowledge the manner in which the number of vulnerable drug users have grown in staggering numbers, and how it is affecting hundreds and thousands of families in the state. Drug abuse, not drug crackdown, it seems is one issue we all have slide aside conveniently.
Yes ‘breaking the chain’ is important, sensitising the public about the vile repercussions of drugs is important, but much beyond that, the crucial lesson to note here is to find people in all capacities to have the heart of sincerity and devotion to duty when it comes to winning this war – be it police personnel, army, a government official, a parent, or an individual.
To the likes of brave souls such as Borsing Bay, credit should be given, commendable deeds must be acknowledged.
At the end of the day, we are all in this together as we all have family members and relatives who are mildly or deeply entrenched in drug abuse.