In the three eastern UP districts of Sonebhadra, Chandauli and Mirzapur, where Maoists have a presence, the UP cops have launched a novel exercise to win over the rebels. The superintendent of police of Sonebhadra, Pritinder Singh is a doctor too. So is his wife. And both of them are busy treating the poor villagers of the region for free.
"He is known in the region as the cop with the stethescope. Along with his wife he treats the people for free and this has surely helped," says a top cop.
Two days back Pritinder performed the kanyadaan of 101 women of the region. From welcoming the marriage procession to arranging for the lavish feast for 10,000 people, providing for items of daily necessity to the bride and groom, he along with his men played the gracious host. The cops are also making efforts to get a financial assistance of Rs 10,000 from the social welfare department to each of the 101 couples married on Tuesday.
Of the 101 women, who were married at the mass marriage function, one happened to be the sister of anaxalite, who has now laid down arms.
"The naxalite Bullu Pathari, is now a changed man. So we too have done our bit by arranging for the wedding of Savita, his sister," says additional director general of police (ADG), Brij Lal. He says, "We have launched community policing in those districts where Maoists are active. So all these things like holding mass wedding, initiating various welfare activities in the region etc are part of the plan to win over the people of the region who have taken to arms."
Brij Lal who had visited the three eastern UP districts too had taken part in the campaign, by distributing sarees among women. Education and sports camps too are being held where youths are being trained in various activities, all aimed at making them employable.
The objective, top cops say, is two fold. "Poverty has basically been responsible for their problems. So we are addressing these issues. If the youths start getting employment, they probably won't take to arms. Hopefully, even hardcorenaxalites too would see logic behind our campaign, which seeks to encourage them to give up arms and join the mainstream," the top cops feel.
In April, the UP police had arrested several Maoists and had hinted that an all out battle would be launched against Maoists and their sympathizers. However DGP Karamvir Singh had said, "We are not against anyone. While we would crack down on criminals and anti social elements, the state would be soft on those who promise to give up arms."