5 Policemen Among 17 Arrested for Running Drug Module in North Kashmir
Representational Image. Image Courtesy: PTI
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Friday said that they had busted a transnational drug racket in which they arrested 17 persons, including five policemen and a political activist in North Kashmir’s Kupwara and Baramulla areas.
Terming it one of the “biggest successes” against drug smuggling, the police also arrested a contractor and a shopkeeper involved in the narcotics module, which they claimed, had originated from Pakistan.
Following a tip-off, the police first arrested a poultry shop owner, identified as Mohd Waseem Najar of Darzipura village in Kupwara. Waseem, according to a police statement, disclosed further names belonging to his district as well as the Uri area of district Baramulla. The police later carried out raids at several locations across the district leading to the arrest of 16 more persons including the police personnel.
The arrested policemen were identified as Special Police Officer (SPOs) Haroon Rasheed Bhat, a resident of Halmatpora, Irshad Ahmed Khan of Batpora Hyama, Sajad Ahmad Bhat of Gonipora Hyama and Zahid Maqbool Dar of Kunan Poshpora Trehgam. A police constable from Kunan Poshpora village of Kupwara identified as Ab Majeed Bhat was also arrested in the case.
The police also claimed the arrests of political activist Ishfaq Habib Khan of Gonipora Hyama, Tahir Ahmed Malik of Rigipora, Kupwara, Khursheed Ahmed Khan, a dry fruits seller and his son Imtiyaz Khan from Halmatpora, Roman Mushtaq Bhat, a resident of Uri, Baramulla and Asif Rashid Hajam of Batergam, Kupwara.
Abid Ali Bhat of Bohipora Kupwara, Tanveer Ahmad Wani, a contractor from Gulgam Kupwara, Nadeem Javed of Uri and Tahir Ahmad Khan of Boniyar, Baramulla have also been arrested in the case. The arrests were carried out by different teams of the Kupwara Police Station.
Also involved in the narco trade, the police said, is Tamheed Ahmed Khan, who is the son of Shakir Ali Khan believed to be involved in militancy. Shakir originally hailed from the border village of Keran but is now based in Pakistan after he crossed over the Line of Control in the early 1990s to join militancy, according to the police statement.
“The busting of this drug smuggling and peddling module has yet again exposed the direct involvement of Pakistan-based terrorist handlers in pumping into Kashmir Valley narcotics aimed to destroy Kashmiri youth,” a police spokesperson said in a statement. Shakir is believed to be the main supplier of narcotics to his son Tahmeed on this side of Line of Control (LoC), the police claimed.
Shakir operated in Kashmir for some time after receiving arms training but exfiltrated and remained one of the key operatives of the Hizbul Mujahideen outfit. “He is now a top handler involved in pushing arms, ammunition and narcotics to Kashmir,” the official’s statement further said.
The police claimed to have recovered two packets weighing nearly two kilograms of Heroin-like narcotics substance from Tamheed’s home.
In a case registered under FIR No 283/2022 of Police Station Kupwara, the police have found that a quantity of about five kilograms – valued at Rs 5 Crore in the market – has allegedly been smuggled in from Pakistan by the head of this module-Tahmeed Khan, during the last three months.
“Out of this 5 kg narcotics, about 2 kg has been recovered instantly, about 1 kg has been peddled among drug peddlers and addicts and about 2 kg remains to be traced,” a police statement read.
The narco trade has emerged as one of the major challenges in Jammu and Kashmir over the last few years. A majority of narcotics is believed to be pushed from across the LoC with Kashmir valley as a key route. This year as many as 85 cases have been registered against 161 persons and about 33 persons involved in narcotics smuggling have been detained and lodged in different jails under the Public Safety Act (PIT-NDPS Act).
Pertinently, health officials have also indicated that there has been an exponential rise in drug use by youth in Kashmir with close to 70,000 persons addicted to various types of drugs including heroin.
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