Nagaland Governor links ‘neighbouring nations’ to rise in drug abuse in India

Nagaland Governor La Ganesan. (Morung Photo)

Morung Express News
Chümoukedima | April 27

Nagaland Governor La Ganesan on Saturday said the apparent increase of drug abuse in India was not “natural” but an attempt by the neighbouring nations to ‘spoil the youth of our country.”  To buttress his point, he noted that India is a country with huge youth population with potential for rapid economic growth.

This is problematic for neighbouring countries, he implied, addressing the inaugural session of the State-Level Workshop on the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), Act 2012 and Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 held in Chümoukedima.

The workshop was jointly organised by the High Court Legal Services Committee, Kohima in collaboration with Department of Law & Justice, Department of Health &Family Welfare and Nagaland Police.

They do not want to see that India should progress and knowing well that youths are more in number in India “deliberately trying to spoil nation,” and this is the reason for drug abuse in India, Ganesan asserted, naming China as one such ‘inimical’ nation.

The route is usually Myanmar and once it comes in it can spread to whole country within 24 hours, he noted. This is why the Central Government is thinking about abolition of Free Movement Regime (FMR) and building border fences, he said.

Unfortunately, there are people opposing it, Ganesan pointed out, though stressing that he completely understands the sentiment. I understand the feeling with the people of their family members saying “Why are you dividing us? I agree with them,” he added.

In this connection, the Governor called for educating the people on the necessity of fencing. 
‘I myself has requested the central government to go slow as for as far as abolishing the FMR or putting a fencing because you have to educate the people,’ he added. The people must be made to understand that it is to prevent unwanted, anti-social elements and to save “our world youth forces,” he asserted.

Meanwhile, dwelling on the subject matters of the workshop, Ganesan stated that Nagaland is not immune to the complexities and intricacies of the criminal justice landscape and faces unique challenges demanding concerted attention and efforts to overcome.

He also termed POCSO Act as a beacon of hope to shield our children from the trauma of sexual abuse and exploitation but noted that the effective implementation and enforcement are hindered by a myriad of challenges.

Likewise, while the NDPS Act aims to fight drug abuse and trafficking but it is imperative to confront the local obstacles that impede its efficacy, the Governor said.

He also cited geographical constraints that hinder access to remote areas, the scarcity of resources and infrastructure, and the cultural nuances that influence perceptions of crime and justice.

Additionally, the prevalence of traditional dispute resolution mechanisms and the stigma surrounding certain crimes often deter victims from seeking recourse through formal legal channels, he added.

Governor, thus, called for acknowledging these challenges and work collaboratively to address them, suggesting training and capacity-building of law enforcement personnel, judiciary, and medical professionals to ensure a more effective response to cases of child sexual abuse and drug-related offenses. Engage with local communities to raise awareness, dispel myths, and foster trust in the formal justice system, he added.

The Governor also called for leveraging technology and innovation to overcome the geographical barriers and streamline processes for accessing justice.

Earlier, setting the tone for the workshop, Judge Budi Habung of the Gauhati High Court noted in his welcome address that it marked a significant milestone on two crucial laws.

While the POCSO Act came into force on November 14, 2012, he observed that stakeholders still grapple with enormous questions to understand the essence of the legislation. Without periodic workshops, many concerns by stakeholders who deal with POCSO cases would remain unanswered, and the result may be devastating, he added.

Justice Habung also highlighted that a workshop on the NDPS Act is relevant not only for the country in general but also for North-Eastern states with international borders with Myanmar, part of the infamous Golden Triangle.

He mentioned that there are a total of 92 cases under the POCSO Act and 408 cases under the NDPS Act pending adjudication before the special designated courts of various District Courts of Nagaland, underscoring the need for the workshop.

Director General of Police, Rupin Sharma, meanwhile, stated that POSCO& NDPS cases are a matter of concern for all and called for putting a system in place people can be encouraged to report; prevent stigmatisation and maintain a degree of secrecy not just of victims but also of the family and other witnesses.

He urged the officers to take due care and investigate details of these cases so that desired results are achieved.

Sharma also informed that in Nagaland, police is armed-police centric state with 15 battalions of 16000 people in the battalions and around 50%of the components of the district executive force is armed police. Around 70% of the Nagaland Police is involved in law & order duties and not investigation purposes, he noted.

To establish supremacy of law, we need to need to change and reinvent improve professionalism & investigation in Nagaland police and recover trust deficit, he added.  

As per the State DIPR, the highlights of the workshop included two working sessions – one on POCSO Act with Dr Shaibya Saldanha, Co- founder Enfold Trust, Consultant Gynaecologist & Child Protection Trainee and Justice (Rtd) Mir Aifaz Ali Director, Judicial Academy, Assam as resource persons; and on NDPS Act, 1985 with SP Moitra, Faculty Judicial Academy, Assam and DGP Sharam as as resource persons

Speeches were also delivered by Commissioner & Secretary, Dept. of Law & Justice, Anoop Kinchi, IAS; Commissioner & Secretary, H&FW, V Kezo.