A stand-off continues between police and Christian anti-drug vigilantes in Myanmar. The Christian anti-drug vigilantes want to destroy the poppy fields in Kachin.

Thousands of anti-drug vigilantes were arrested in the stand-off after they were prevented from destroying the poppy fields, reported Mail Online. Pat Jasan, a hard-line Christian anti-drug organisation is presently camping outside the town of Waingmaw in Kachin. Around 3000 members have joined in the stand-off.  The members of this group often don military-style uniform and are well-known for their attacks on drug users.

The group has vowed to eradicate local poppy fields but they are prevented from doing so by the authorities. Hpala Lum Hkawng, a senior member of Pat Jasan in Waingmaw said, “”Local army and police told us that they are still blocking the way for security reasons. We have asked the state government to get access.”

BBC reported that opium has traditionally been used for medicinal purposes, as well as, to treat ailments like diarrhea and dysentery. However, with the passage of time more than medicinal purposes, commercial poppy production has taken the hold.

The local police and military were unavailable for any comment. However, a senior official was ready to speak on the condition of anonymity. He stated that the group was blocked for security reasons. The authority feared that it might spark conflict between the group and some local farmers.

One of the  local residents said that they asked the anti-drug vigilantes, Pat Jasan to forgive them for this year as they had invested much money in planting poppies. He said that they had no other option but fight back as that is the only source of their income.

A statement by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) revealed that its survey on Southeast Asia Opium production shows that the opium grown in Myanmar and Laos had been refined into 73.1 tonnes to 82.3 tonnes street quality heroin.

The country will get its new president on March 17.