India destroys 12,000kg of drugs worth $77 million

Interior Minister Amit Shah delivers a speech during an election rally in Loni, Uttar Pradesh. AFP

India destroyed more than 12,000 kilograms of narcotics estimated to be worth $77 million on Wednesday as part of a nationwide campaign to fight drugs in the 75th year of the country’s independence.

Interior Minister Amit Shah, a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, pressed the incinerator button remotely to destroy the cache in western Gujarat state.

You are reading: India destroys 12,000kg of drugs worth $77 million

It was part of an event on drugs, trafficking and national security, organised by the Narcotics Control Bureau, the federal drug law enforcement agency. It said the drugs were estimated to be worth 6.3 billion rupees on the international market.

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“Narcotics is like a termite which is trying to consume our youth … also the money generated from drug trafficking feeds terrorism … it is a two-pronged weapon that is destroying our youth and funding terrorism and it is our responsibility to fight it,” Mr Shah said.

“At this delicate point, we have to make a resolution to clean the country of this termite.”

More than 2,300 people died of drug overdoses from 2017 to 2019, according to the data by the National Crime Records Bureau in 2021.

The anti-drugs agency has launched a campaign to destroy at least 75,000kg of confiscated drugs in 75 days, to mark India’s 75th year of independence.

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Mr Shah started the campaign in July by destroying more than 31,000kg of drugs in northern Chandigarh city, followed by incineration of 40,000kg in north-eastern Guwahati city.

India has a widespread menace of drug trafficking. The northern state of Punjab is plagued by drug abuse, while the ports in Gujarat have been increasingly used by traffickers and smugglers for shipping contraband.

Police had seized 3,000kg of heroin worth more than 3.5 billion rupees ($44m) in a container near the country’s largest commercial port of Mundra in July.

Gujarat, the home state of Mr Modi, is scheduled to go to polls this year and has hosted a number of visits by politicians, including the prime minister, in recent days.

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