Policing with smile, Manu style
BJ Mirror CorrespondentLight is burning bright; Gone is the blighted night. The sparkles in the eyes of Rohtas SP Manu Maharaaj convey it all albeit he would not claim so in words. Yes, his tireless efforts have brought a new dawn in the forests and hills of Kaimur Plateau in Rohtas district of Bihar. After years of extremist terrorism and occasional police encounters peace seems to have returned to the region.
Manu said: “My trophy is people’s affection. I have befriended the locals through community policing and frequent combing operations, of course pursued gently. Even Maoists have realised futility and opted to join the main streamline”. He said 13 hard core naxals have surrendered with looted police arms and ammunition. Moreover 95 Maoists, with huge cache of arms and explosives, have been arrested during the gone-by year. Exuding a Himachali fragrance he asserted that the “Maoists, who once opened fire at me, are now working with me in my peace mission to resurrect the Kaimur Plateau”.
The police chief said that the economic backbone of the Maoists have been broken or weakened. They got money as levy from contractors of all hues, including bidi leaf trading, illegal mining, bamboo farming and construction of bridges. The extremist groups are well-equipped with modern weaponry and well-trained guerrilla warfare. Some 83 villages, sprinkled in panchayats, were scourged by naxalism for over a decade. They enjoyed complete sway as eastern flank of the Plateau still remains bereft of any police picket or presence.
In an attempt to make peace a permanent feature of the Plateau region, the Rohtas police plans to install communication towers at strategic places, like Dhansa, Budhua, Soli and Yadunathpur, Belduria, Goria and Bhokra. The last four spots are located on Bihar-UP border; he said and added such towers would also be installed at the camps of para-military forces: Chutia, Nauhatta, Rohtas, Amjhor and CRPF camps at Banjari and Badalgarh. Police pickets would be set up at Bhadara, Parachha, Yadunathpur and Tardih, all on the foot of hill range and Budhua, Dhansa, Soli and Goria on the plateau. It may be noted here that it is for the first time since Independence that the Plateau would have police pickets.
The SP said that to insulate security and safety of forces fool-proof prefabricated structures and bullet proof towers at the top of the Plateau would be erected. As a part of community policing programme blankets, radios, torches, cycles, sports kits, books, clothes, solar lamps etc. were distributed at police melas. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, during his visit to the Rohtas Fort, also gave away such articles to the local people. Medical camps are organised in the interiors of naxal affected places. Nukkad sabhas (corner meetings) are also being held regularly, where people are being educated. Free driving classes are held by police personnel to bring back unemployed youth in the mainstream.
The surrender policy of the state government is prominently displayed at various points. Police operations are being conducted on the Plateau and the dense forests, infested by the extremists. The SP has opposed mining activities and got them stopped. All mining mafia groups have been banned and regular raids are being conducted for recovery of explosives, being supplied to the extremists by these mining operators.
Manu Maharaaj said that lack of proper road communication has been the biggest problem in policing work. “To overcome this handicap we have suggested to the government to urgently build a dozen roads in the Plateau region. They include Rohtas-Dhansa via tardih(23 kms), Dhansa-Chakdih, via Rehal (27 kms), Kuba-Adhaura, via Soli (25 kms), Rehal-Sarodag, via Pipardih (8 kms), Dhansa-Nakti Bhawana, via Barhki Budhua (12 kms), Budhua-Guptadhaam (10 kms), Tardih-Haraiya (8 kms), Haraiya-Bharai, via Mano (16 kms), Chutia-Barkatta via Khukhma ghat (10 kms), Chutia-Yadunathpur-Dumarkhoh (40 kms), Dumrakhoh-Kone in UP (25 kms) and Tarachandi-Budhua, via Goria (40 kms).