Guarding banks with bows and arrows
Guess what most bank guards in Jharkhand - known as a hotbed of Maoist rebels - are armed with? Not guns and revolvers, but bows and arrows.
In Tamar block, around 70 km from Ranchi, banks have equipped security personnel with bows, arrows, sickles and other traditional weapons which they say are better than the lathis, or long bamboo batons, the guards were earlier being provided with.
"Security personnel guarding banks with bows and arrows are better equipped. In June this year, thieves looted Rs 67,895 from our bank and the guards, who were armed with batons and sticks, failed to do anything," said Krishna Ram, branch manager of Punjab National Bank, Tamar.
At all other banks like the Gramin bank, Bank of India, Union Bank and others, the same security arrangements have been made.
Bank officials point out that repeated requests to their respective head offices to arrange for proper security went unheard.
In Jharkhand, more than 50 bank robberies have taken place in the last three years. Bank officials have raised the issue several times with police.
Jharkhand Police have said it is not possible for them to spare security personnel to guard banks. The state police have asked banks to raise a special force and bear the expenses.
In rural areas, Maoists raid banks at regular intervals. At some places, banks have closed their branches due to security reasons.
The Reserve Bank of India and State Bank of India on a regular basis issue dos and don'ts for banks located in rural areas as they face threats from Maoist rebels.