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West Singhbhum police to use Prachanda to confront Naxalites

Police in Chaibasa are now exploiting Prachanda's new non-militant image to convince Naxalites, reports B Vijay Murty.

world Updated: Apr 13, 2007 22:19 IST

Prachanda, the leader of People's Liberation Army (PLA), military wing of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), is the new found weapon in the hands of West Singhbhum police confronting Naxalites in one of India's biggest natural forest range, Saranda.

Having miserably failed to take the Naxalites head on in Saranda, where they have suffered casualties of around 50 security personnel since 2001 during the anti-Naxalite combing operations, police in Chaibasa are now exploiting Prachanda's new non-militant image to convince Naxalites to shun violence and participate in democratic processes of the state. Armed with paper cuttings highlighting Prachanda's active role in making Nepal a republic, police are now preaching Prachanda's non-violent philosophy in villages in and around Saranda, who were understood to be shifting loyalty to the Maoists, and helping them in carrying out subversive operations against the state.

The silent campaign, of late, has been intensified, as police along with administrative counterparts have started penetrating deep into the jungles to hold janata darbars in remote villages where Maoists run a parallel government.

There are some villages where people claim to have seen administration at their doorsteps for the first time post independence.

"Prachanda was a dreaded Maoist, who remained underground for years. However, today he moves freely, has got his people occupy ministerial berths, and has a significant say in formation of the interim government in Nepal. When he can think of shunning violence, why can't the Naxalites in Saranda," West Singhbhum superintendent of police (SP), Sudhir Kumar Jha is spreading the message loud and clear in Saranda villages.

Jha has promises to offer to Naxalites who followed Prachanda's path. "We promise to rehabilitate them, send their children to good schools, and give them security if they desired to gave up arms. Naxalite leaders' in Nepal are sending their children abroad for better studies, and living in palatial houses. We promise Naxalites holed up in Saranda all assistance to better their lives," Jha pointed out.

SP's clarion call to the Maoists seems gradually paying dividends. "Initially, people used to flee at the sight of police. Nowadays, they are attending state sponsored janata darbars, wherein, besides, addressing their grievances, police-administration duo are donating solar lights, sewing machines, leaf plate making machines, clothes and utensils to better their lives, and not to get lured to Naxalite baits," Krishna Munda, a village elder said.