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‘Everybody does it, what is the big deal?’ Is Bollywood drug probe really worth prime time? Short answer is yes. Read why

To claim that the Bollywood drug abuse has nothing to do with common man's life is like living in a fool's paradise, to put it mildly.

Soon after Rhea Chakraborty was arrested by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) over her alleged involvement in Bollywood drug trafficking and consumption probe, many from the film industry came out in her support. People in the film industry. Her arrest was referred to as ‘witch hunt’ by the all and mighty in the media industry.

Allegations of drug abuse against her were questioned because she is daughter of a former army surgeon. Because, how can those who like to refer to themselves as ‘army brats’ ever be wrong.

From the who’s who in the industry to who the hell is she, everyone came together to ‘smash the patriarchy’ for Rhea.

‘Stoner community’ came together to extend support to Chakraborty and trended ‘blaze it up for Rhea’ on Twitter.

Many, especially those who like to identify themselves as ‘liberals’ wondered since Bollywood and drug abuse is not a new phenomenon, is it really necessary to give so much importance to this drug probe.

But doesn’t the drug abuse by Bollywood stars or the youth in states like Punjab not affect our lives? It does.

Drugs fund terror activities

According to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes, while it is difficult to establish how widely terror organisations are involved in drug trafficking, the magnitude of the numbers involved in the unholy union is worrisome.

As per a 2007 report, the total potential value of Afghanistan’s 2006 opium harvest accruiing to farmers, laboratory owners and Afghan traffickers was approximately USD 3.1 billion. Further, in 2004, 400 tonnes of cocaine valued at USD 2 billion domestically was exported from one Latin American country. While estimates of how much of this money is used for terrorism vary, it would suffice to say that even a small amount is good enough to carry out terror attacks.

A 2017 New York Times article states that in April 2013, Italian Navy warships intercepted a huge freighter, The Adam, bound for Libya. 15 metric tonnes of hashish (form of cannabis) was seized. The quantity was so enormous that the officials had to rent a warehouse to store it. Drugs on this route were almost always bound for Libya where various armed and terror groups, including ISIS are fighting and competing with each other.

Over the course of next 32 months, the officials intercepted 20 such ships. Total hashish seized was over 280 tonnes valued at over 2.8 billion Euros (or USD 3.2 billion).

In 2014, it was reported that Syria was manufacturing and trafficking large amounts of amphetamines. Amphetamines is primarily a drug called Captagon, which generates hundreds of millions of dollars in profits. Captagon is smuggled to Lebanon which traffics it to the rest of the Gulf region. Several media outlets reported that in August 2014, ISIS was receiving huge chunks of money by manufacturing and trafficking methamphetamine (known in popular culture as meth) at pharmaceutical manufacturing labs they seized in Aleppo. The Aleppo pharmaceutical plants were equipped with the chemicals and necessary apparatus to manufacture high grade drugs.

Further, the drugs make the ISIS terrorists hallucinate and go on barbaric savagery in the name of Islam. As per reports, in Syria, reports of barbaric acts of violence emerged around same time as meth was manufactured in high quantity.

Pakistan-sponsored narco-terrorism

Closer home, Pakistan has been consistently pushing drugs in India in a bid to fuel terrorism. One of the most notable uses of drug money and drug trafficking routes in terror operations in India were the 1993 bomb blasts in Mumbai. It was found that the explosives used in the terror attack were brought to India using the same routes that the Dawood gang used to smuggle people, arms, and contraband.

It is no secret that Pakistan’s government in collaboration with the ISI is using narcotics to fund terrorism in India. In 1994, during an interview, Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan’s army chief and the head of its intelligence agency (ISI) proposed a detailed plan to use the heroin trade to fund terrorism in 1991. Sharif added that though he disapproved of the “plan,” he had no source to verify if the ISI obeyed his orders or not. 

In fact, BJP MP Ravi Kishan in the recently concluded Monsoon Session of the Parliament had said how Pakistan and China have been conspiring to destroy the youth of India by trafficking drugs via Nepal and other routes.

To claim that the Bollywood drug abuse has nothing to do with common man’s life is like living in a fool’s paradise, to put it mildly.

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Nirwa Mehta
Politically incorrect. Author, Flawed But Fabulous.

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