For gaining a much needed popular backing during the fight against Maoist rebels and counter their propaganda, the Chhattisgarh police have launched extensive state-wide campaign to build-up public opinion against the red guerillas.
The campaign was launched by the state Director General of Police Vishwaranjan in Sarguja – a Maoist infested district in north Chhattisgarh, on Wednesday.
Different district headquarters would see a two-day exhibition and the camps set up in publicly important places to display horrifying 'untold' stories of violence unleashed by the extremists which also will narrate its upshots. The campaign is to continue for two months, only one district at a time will remain in focus for the event.
The state police strongly felt the ignorance rife among the people about the Maoist menace may prove disadvantageous as the battle against the rebels continues.So, the efforts are on to obstruct any attempt by the naxalite propaganda machine to get people swayed.
“We wish to educate people and tell them the truth. The masses would also be cautioned against the misleading propaganda and confusion created by the Maoists”, Vishwaranjan told Hindustan Times.
The awareness generation campaign, the first such attempt, would cover most of the districts during the first phase and include even those places where the red terror have not shown its presence.
The campaign will demonstrate how the violence and atrocities have been unleashed by the extremists, pictures of destruction to spur hatred against the ultras, displaying of messages through slogans, posters and verses during the course of event. Visitors’ opinion would be solicited during the occasion.
The official circular from the state PHQ has asked all SPs, DIGs and IGs to ensure widespread dissemination of information, education and communication among various social, literary, cultural, educational, business and administrative circles besides the masses.
The SPs and DIGs have been specifically asked to carry out monitoring and guide the campaign in their respective areas.
Top police officials of the state believe that the state has not been quite successful to highlight the excesses committed by the extremists. “As the major joint operation against the left wing extremists is on, it is high time to release accurate and factual information to the public”, the officer said.
DIG (Intelligence) Pawan Deo told HT that the security forces have not received adequate support from the people so far and a win over extremists is not possible without popular backing.
Besides the masses, efforts will also be directed towards generating the awareness among student community. “At the college and school levels poetry and essay writing competition would be held on theme based on anti-naxalism and best performers would be rewarded”, state IG and police spokesperson R K Vij.
After witnessing the exhibition a Sarguja-based human rights activist Rajesh Sisodiya said, “The grievance on good governance and eliminating corruption should also find its mention in such campaign to win people’s heart and dent Maoists deceitful misinformation”.
The final exhibition of the campaign would be held in the Maoist stronghold Dantewada district in south Bastar on January 12 next year.