Madhya Pradesh police have started a house-to-house survey of 40 Naxalite-hit villages in Balaghat district to ensure sympathisers in the area are unable to hide rebel leaders who use them as hideouts, an official said on Sunday.
The survey will also give police a fair idea about the requirements and needs of villagers so that they could benefit through various government initiatives to bridge the existing trust deficit, said Gaurav Tiwari, Balaghat superintendent of police.
“We have started surveys in 40 villages in Baihar and Lanji areas of the district where people are known to be Maoist sympathisers over the years… The rebels use these villages to hide when they are on the run from security forces in the neighbouring districts of Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra,” he said.
“Once they are in these villages they hide their weapons, and it is difficult to identify them. So this survey will help us to know the exact number of people in each household and village…,” Tiwari told Hindustan Times over phone.
Asked how the surveys were being conducted, he said police were taking the help of sarpanchs and other officials in the villages to ensure it was “as accurate as possible”.
“Once the survey is complete, we will start various initiatives like providing vocational training to the women in the villages and help them in getting their children admitted to schools and provide scholarships to them,” he said.
“We will hold medical camps in the villages. We will try to engage unemployed men in various government projects according to their skill sets.
“…This way we will try to bridge the trust deficit and make them realise that they should not help the rebel leaders as the government was doing everything possible for them,” he said. “It may not happen overnight, but we are on the right track.”
On the Maoist presence in the district, he said the rebels use Balaghat area primarily as a transit point and as hideouts.
“In Balaghat, there are two main Maoist dalams or local units of the rebels with more than 30 active members, who keep moving between the three states,” he said
Asked about reports that said rebels had distributed pamphlets in Bilalkasa village of the district recently threatening that they would “punish” the superintendent of police (SP) and inspector general of police (IG) of Balaghat, he said police had found just one pamphlet with such a threat.
“Generally they distribute many pamphlets. Just one pamphlet threatening the SP and IG could be the mischief of some local Maoist sympathizer,” he said.
The surveys have been conducted in 40 villages in Baihar and Lanji areas of the district where people are known to be Maoist sympathisers
The police aim to know the exact number of people in each household and village, which will help them keep a tab on Maoists entering the villages
The police have been taking the help of sarpanchs and other officials in the villages to ensure it was “as accurate as possible”
Once the survey is complete, the police aim to start various initiatives such as providing vocational training to village women and helping them in getting their children admitted to schools and providing scholarships to them, with a goal to bridge the trust deficit between them and the villagers