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Addiction leads farmer to grow opium, arrested

Police said Bishnoi is addicted to poppy husk, locally called doda post, and got his daily fix from the legal vends until April 2016 when the state decided to shut down the vends and banned the use of husk.

jaipur Updated: Feb 21, 2018 20:35 IST
Mukesh Mathrani
Mukesh Mathrani
Hindustan Times, Barmer
Rajasthan news,Addiction,Farmer
Barmer police raided the man’s illegal poppy farm on Monday and destroyed 840 opium plants before arresting the farmer, Jairam Bishnoi.(HT PHOTO)

A man in Rajasthan decided to cultivate poppy to fulfil his daily need of poppy husk.

Barmer police raided the man’s illegal poppy farm on Monday and destroyed 840 opium plants before arresting the farmer, Jairam Bishnoi.

Police said Bishnoi is addicted to poppy husk, locally called doda post, and got his daily fix from the legal vends until April 2016 when the state decided to shut down the vends and banned the use of husk.

According to data from the Central Bureau of Narcotics, Rajasthan, around 27,000 farmers are growing opium in Kota, Baran, Jhalawar, Pratapgarh, Chittorgarh, Udaipur and Bhilwara districts after obtaining licences from the bureau. The crop is harvested in March-April after the bureau declares the dates for procurement. Last year, the bureau procured 266 tonnes of opium from 25,373 farmers.

Officers of the Sedwa police station got a tip-off about the illegal cultivation of opium in Koliyana village, 30 km from the international Indo-Pak border. The police raided the village on Monday.

“We found 840 plants of opium in Bishnoi’s farm and we uprooted and crushed them to destroy the illegal farm,” said station house officer Vikas Saharan.

Bishnoi was produced before the local court hearing cases related to the violation of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, on Tuesday. The court remanded him in three-day police custody.

“The accused told us that after the ban on doda post, he found it impossible to procure the drugs from smugglers. He noticed that some poppy plants were growing on his farm so he decided to plant more to meet his daily fix and also make some extra money,” the police officer said.

After the ban on the legal sale of poppy husk, the narcotic is sold on the black market. Since May 2016, the Barmer police alone have seized 10,000 kg of doda. The narcotic has been seized in other districts of the state as well.

Serving small doses of opium to guests on social occasions, including funerals, is an old custom in western Rajasthan.

“In this part of the country, opium is used as a means to reach compromises between warring parties. During elections, political parties organise opium ceremonies to woo the voters. The convention is, if you attend opium party of a candidate, you will vote for him/her,” says social activist Tejdan Charan.

Former BJP veteran leader from Barmer, Jaswant Singh was booked for serving the drug to his guests during a family feast in November 2007. A large number of BJP leaders were videotaped licking opium dissolved in water from Singh’s palm.

But opium has never been grown in Barmer before this.

First Published: Feb 21, 2018 20:35 IST