Was Shah right on drugs? Tripura worked with BSF to report India’s highest seizure in 6 yrs

76,671 kgs of contrabands have been detected by the Border Security Force (BSF) in Tripura since 2017, the highest in any border state.

New Delhi | Updated: 23 December, 2022 3:04 pm IST

As Union minister Amit Shah stresses that the states that don’t cooperate with central probe agencies are enabling drug trafficking, an analysis by The New Indian shows that BJP-ruled Tripura has been a chart-topper during the last six years.

“Guarding borders is the responsibility of the central government, but when we give rights to the BSF, it is said that the rights of states are being taken away. How will the BSF work there? BSF seizes drugs but doesn’t have the right to file a case. Those politicising this issue are promoting drug trafficking,” Shah told parliament on Wednesday.

According to government data, 76,671 kilograms of contrabands like heroin, poppy, brown sugar, and ganja have been detected by the Border Security Force (BSF) in Tripura since 2017. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the northeastern state for the first time in 2018.

The state, which shares around 856 kilometres of border with Bangladesh, has seen a rise in seizures of narcotics substances this year as compared to that of 2021. More than 13210 kgs of narcotics was recovered in 2021 as against 16984 kgs this year so far – an increase of over 3500 kgs.

In 2017, BSF troops captured 9542 kgs of ganja and poppy from areas of Tripura bordering Bangladesh. Eight persons were apprehended.

In 2018, the same year the BJP demolished the communist citadel, the figure of drug seizures saw a massive jump to 22,326 kgs of brown sugar, ganja, heroin and opium with the arrest of 43 persons.

In 2019, the figure went down to around 9270 kgs. A total of 20 people were apprehended in connection with drug seizures.

Official data show that the amount of drug seizures eased further to 5331 kgs in Tripura in 2020, the year which saw a devastating wave of Covid-19 infections. Twelve people were arrested and handed over to the police this year.

However, the figures shot up significantly to 13216 kgs in the year 2021, with the arrest of 32 accused from border areas of the state.

So far in 2022, BSF has recovered 16984 kgs of banned drugs like brown sugar, ganja and hemp. As many as 39 people have been taken into custody in connection with these seizures.

A huge amount of drugs were seized in five other states sharing borders with Bangladesh.

The BSF, which guards India’s borders with Bangladesh and Pakistan, captured 14,812 kgs of contraband from Guwahati, 13,967 kgs from West Bengal, 4517 kgs from Mizoram and Cachar, 3,372 kgs from Meghalaya between 2017 and November 30 this year.

In Delhi, BSF officials said that Tripura’s geography could be a reason behind such a huge amount of drug seizures.

“Tripura is surrounded by Bangladesh from three sides – north, south and west. The length of the Tripura-Bangladesh border constitutes 84 per cent of the state’s total border. Perhaps, it is the reason behind the highest number of seizures from the state,” an official told The New Indian.

On the Pakistan border, Punjab is the worst affected state with drug seizures standing at 2010 kgs since 2017. The state has seen the highest number of drug deliveries through Pakistani drones.

Among the other states bordering Pakistan, Rajasthan remained at second position with a total quantity of 540 kgs of drug seizure followed by Gujarat at 328 kgs. The Jammu region of BSF seized 155 kgs of contraband between 2017 and 2022, the analysis shows.

While Pakistani smugglers are focusing on pushing heroin into India, the Bangladesh border registered the highest quantity of ganja seizures, according to the analysis.

Cross-border drug smuggling depends on various factors ranging from demand and supply, economy, and terrain of that particular region. In many parts of these borders, the smuggling of gold and silver, cattle, foreign currency, fake currency, and arms and ammunition has raised alarm for security agencies.

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