Arunachal youth rally against opium addiction
By Felix Anthony
Longding: A group of young people from Arunachal Pradesh’s Longding district spent four days at a Catholic school to fight opium addiction among young generation.
The April 20-23 rally was held at De Paul School, Tissam as the easternmost district of Arunachal got the dubious distinction of having the highest number of opium addicts in the northeastern Indian state.
Around 300 young people from 51 villages of the district attended the program.
“It is our humble effort to create awareness among the youth to tackle this problem,” said Honlem Khangham, general secretary of the Longding District Catholic Youth Association. The convention is the result of an extensive house-to-house survey in the entire district for a period of more than two months.
According to a recent survey by the Indian government, Arunachal Pradesh emerged as the largest opium producer in the country with Anjaw, Lohit and Longding districts topping the list.
Bishop George Pallikkaparampil of Miao, who organized the event, said such events not only bring the youth from different villages together but help them get organized, become aware of the existing problems and take appropriate steps to address them.
“The convention would be a success if all of you who have gathered for the convention would resolve not to become victim of this opium addiction,” said the Salesian prelate whose diocese covers the three district. “Let it not end with this rally. It should lead you to take concrete steps to curb the opium menace in the district,” he added.
Most young participants walked for hours to reach the venue because of lacks of roads connecting their villages
Animation, motivational talks, sessions on ways to fight the addiction, colorful cultural items, and various literary competitions marked the rally. They ended it with a march in the town.
Longding district shares international boundary with Myanmar in the east. Its boundaries also touch Nagaland and Assam.