Landmark conviction marks first success of Anti-Narcotics Task Force in Jammu and Kashmir

Landmark conviction marks first success of Anti-Narcotics Task Force in Jammu and Kashmir

In its first conviction since the creation of the anti-narcotics task force (ANTF) in 2020, a court in north Kashmir’s Kupwara on Friday sentenced two drug peddlers to 10-year imprisonment and imposed a fine of ₹1 lakh on each convict.

The court of additional district and sessions judge Kupwara announced the judgment against Mohammad Shafi Lone and Bilal Ahmad Dar, both of Sopore in Baramulla district. Over two years ago, the ANTF intercepted their vehicle and found them in possession of 435 gm and 372 gm of commercial quantity heroin (manufactured drugs) respectively on December 10, 2020 on National Highway at Dragmulla in Kupwara.

A fine of ₹1 lakh has also been imposed on both the convicts/accused persons. “In default of the payment of fine aforesaid, the convicts/accused persons shall undergo further sentence of rigorous imprisonment of 2.5 years,” said the judgment by judge Khem Raj Sharma.

First of its kind, the ANTF was created on the orders of the home department on May 14, 2020 to fight drug smuggling in J&K. Two police stations — one each in Jammu and Kashmir divisions — under the supervision of the IGP Crime were formed under the ANTF. “FIR No 45/202 was the first case which was challaned in the court of law,” said additional public prosecutor Dar Rasheed.

“The conviction in the case will act as a deterrent for the potential criminals as the trial was completed within two years. The drug mafia has a mindset that cases get acquitted after long trails,” he said.

The additional district and session judge, Kupwara, had announced the conviction last week on May 24 after the case was chargesheeted on May 25, 2021. “The prosecution has succeeded in proving its case against the accused persons… the accused persons are held guilty and are convicted for the offence under Section 21 (c) of the NDPS Act,” the order had stated.

The police in Baramulla have booked 214 persons, including some notorious drug dealers, this year from January 31 to May 31.

The arrests have been largely made under the NDPS Act and PSA after police registered 144 cases in different police stations across the district.

Baramulla senior superintendent of police Amod Nagpure said 194 drug smugglers, including 25 most-wanted drug smugglers, were arrested under the NDPS Act. “We have also booked 23 habitual drug peddlers under the PIT-NDPS/PSA. Contraband substances worth ₹7 crore have also been recovered and seized in the last five months across the district,” he said.

He said the recoveries include 2.6-kg brown sugar, 2.4-kg heroin, 8.0-kg charas, 69.82-kg poppy straw and cannabis. “We also recovered ₹43.19 lakh and seized 15 vehicles.”

Being close to the line of control, the villages of Baramulla and Kupwara have been used by drug dealers to ferry drugs from across the LoC.

Civil society chairman engineer Tariq Mughloo said the drug menace has become a big issue which is destroying lives of many young people.

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