Jammu, Sep 15: In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Jammu and Kashmir Police has set up a Narcotic Awareness Recidivism Control (NARC) cell in Udhampur district to prepare a database of all hardcore criminals to counter organised crime in the state, a senior police officer said on Saturday.
The cell, headed by two sub-inspector rank officers, including a computer expert, was set up in May-June this year and is vigorously working on preparing the database of all hardcore criminals and narcotic and bovine smugglers who are frequently found involved in various intermingled criminal cases, senior superintendent of police, Udhampur, Rayees Mohammad Bhat told PTI.
"This is an effort to maintain database and records of narcotics traders and peddlers so that we can have a full picture of the drugs network and tackle the problem holistically," he said.
He said it aims to control narcotics spread, prevention and repeat offences with awareness initiatives and also unearth the network of illicit drug trade operatives.
Despite strenuous efforts of the police, the drug trafficking and its abuse has witnessed an alarming increase over the past couple of years. Former director general of state police S P Vaid had termed the drug menace as a "bigger challenge" than terrorism and said contrabands were being pumped from across the border.
Till August, police has registered 453 cases and arrested 645 persons under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, while over 40,000 patients were treated at the drug de-addiction centres opened by police at various places, including the capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu.
"The fractured efforts never give us a picture of the illicit drug trade going on between various parts of the state and the setting up of the NARC cell is an effort to tailor a bigger picture out of the fractured parts," the SSP said. Bhat said the NARC cell was tasked to unearth the network of organised crimes so that they could be booked under stringent laws, besides attachment of their property raised through illegal means.
The officer said the police is making efforts to wipe out the drug menace and are frequently organising lectures in colleges and schools to motivate youth to keep away from narcotics. "We have produced a movie on drug awareness 'Ujadta chaman' and showing it to the students," the officer said.
Meanwhile, the Udhampur police chief said a hardcore narcotics smuggler was arrested and booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) on Friday. Rafaqat, originally hailing from Assar village of Doda but currently staying at Devika village of Udhampur, was arrested and booked under PSA, he said.
"A dossier with regard to his criminal activities was prepared and submitted before district magistrate Udhampur Ravinder Kumar, who after careful consideration issued orders of his detention under PSA," he said. He said Rafaqat was a habitual criminal and arrested several times in the past in different cases of heinous nature, including narcotics and attempt to murder, he said.
He is the second narcotic smuggler booked under PSA in the district in nearly two months. In July, hardcore narcotics smuggler Umar Jaan was arrested under PSA in the district. In Udhampur district, the SSP said 65 drug peddlers were arrested and 50 cases registered under relevant sections of law till August ending this year. The seizure made from the drug peddlers include 805 kg of poppy straw, 3.4 kg of charas and 322 grams of heroin, he said.