Death penalty for drug peddlers in Manipur
The threats have been issued to drug traffickers, tobacco dealers and liquor vendors by three separatist groups.Updated: Sep 07, 2006 13:15 IST
Three separatist groups in restive Manipur have threatened to kill drug traffickers and tobacco dealers and punish liquor vendors with a bullet in the leg, a joint statement said.
The statement by the outlawed United National Liberation Front (UNLF), the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL), and the People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) said the ban on sale and consumption of heroin, opium, Spasmo Provyvon tablets, chewing tobacco products would come into effect from September 15.
"Drug traffickers would face capital punishment without any trial and anyone found guilty of selling liquor would get a bullet in the leg," the rebel statement warned.
The three militant groups are fighting for independent homelands for the majority Hindu Metei community in the state of 2.4 million people.
The separatists, however, exempted brewing of homemade liquor used for religious purposes.
"Drug abuse had not only compounded the problem of HIV/AIDS but also taken a heavy toll on the mental and physical health of the youth," the statement said.
India's northeast, which borders the heroin producing 'golden triangle' of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, has a major problem with intravenous drug use, the most common cause for the spread of AIDS in the region.
According to various estimates, there could be up to 100,000 intravenous drug users in Manipur, a majority of them believed to be HIV positive. During the past three years, at least a dozen drug peddlers were killed by militants in Manipur and several of them shot at their legs for failing to reform.
A number of militant groups have, of late, turned crusaders against social evils—an attempt seen by many to secure public support and consolidate their hold in the society.
The KYKL two years ago warned of death penalty to local women in Manipur who do not adhere to a traditional dress code.
The code prohibits women from wearing trousers or saris in public. Instead they have to don traditional sarongs known as phaneks. The KYKL last year shot at 10 people in the leg for helping students copy in examination halls, besides punishing in public three university teachers for allegedly tampering with some students' marks.
There are at least 19 rebel groups active in Manipur with demands ranging from secession to greater autonomy and the right to self-determination. More than 10,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in the northeastern state during the past two decades.