Imphal: Over 873 Myanmar migrant Kuki-Chin persons were arrested by Manipur police for illegal poppy cultivation and drug trade in the last seven years. Similarly, a release by the Manipur home department stated that at least 1083 Muslims were arrested during the same period for illegal poppy cultivation and drug trade.
From 2017 to April 2023, over 2500 were arrested, and Manipur police destroyed 15,496 acres of poppy cultivation.
The State Government on May 16 released comprehensive data on the arrests of illicit drug traffickers and the cultivation of poppies during 2017-2023. The data shows community-wide arrests made under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, providing insights into the extent of involvement and the collective responsibility in addressing this issue.
According to the data released by the home department of Manipur, the Kuki-Chin community witnessed a substantial number of arrests over the years. In 2017, 82 individuals were apprehended, followed by 54 in 2018, 122 in 2019, 127 in 2020, 151 in 2021, 288 in 2022, and 49 in 2023. 873 Kuki Chin migrants were arrested during the period for illegal poppy cultivation. It has been alleged by various Manipur-based organisations that the arrests for illegal poppy cultivation and destruction of poppy cultivation are a big blow to the Kuki militant organisations also. The recent series of attacks on the Hindu Meiti community by the Kuki Militant organisation is also retaliation against the war on drugs by the Manipur Government.
Similarly, 93 Muslims were arrested in 2017, 223 in 2018, 201 in 2019, 177 in 2020, 163 in 2021, 210 in 2022, and 16 in 2023, with a cumulative total of 1083 arrests.
The Meitei community accounted for 44 arrests in 2017, 67 in 2018, 64 in 2019, 54 in 2020, 40 in 2021, 98 in 2022, and 14 in 2023, totalling 381 arrests. Additionally, there were 181 arrests from other communities in the State.
Overall, 2518 individuals have been arrested under NDPS cases from 2017 to 2023 in Manipur.
In addition, the data also highlights the scale of areas where different communities were doing illegal poppy cultivation.
13,121.8 acres of poppy cultivation in the Kuki-Chin community were destroyed from 2017 to 2023. The Nagas community reported 2340 acres of poppy cultivation. Other communities accounted for 35 acres. In total, 15,496 acres of poppy cultivation were destroyed by police in the State.