Community policing in Maoist-hit Purulia fosters bond with locals
Paramilitary forces are conducting community-policing programme in West Bengal's Maoist-hit Purulia district in a bid to foster stronger bonds with locals.
The programme has been launched in collaboration with the district police to bridge the gap between police and the community.
Several players from the neighbouring districts assembled in Purulia to battle it out on the field. The match saw the participation of both young boys and girls, who were enthusiastic to compete at the district level.
One of the players, Joydeb Sabar, praised the provincial government for initiating a development programme. On the other hand, he ranted that there has not been much development in the district, ever since they moved to Purulia.
"We are the oldest residents in this district, but no development has taken place. Only two percent of us are educated. The new state government has initiated a development programme. We want to study further and do well in life," he said on Thursday (November 22).
According to them, these programmes could serve as a medium to foster better ties between the locals and the police force in the province.
As per media reports, the Maoists are now targeting children and trying to influence them to join their cadres, thus the police have attempted to raise awareness among the youngsters, as they are more gullible.
Additional Superintendent of Police Adesh Prasad that it was impossible for their force to work without the support of the public. Hence, he emphasized on the importance of such programmes to win hearts of the locals and grow closer to them.
"We cannot do anything, without the support of the public. So, it is obvious that we will try to earn everyone's trust, cutting across religions and castes. So, in the last few years, as per the directions of the state government and senior police officials, we have adopted the policy of 'Winning hearts and minds' and we are trying to reach out to people in areas, where earlier it was impossible for us to reach. We are organising programmes, which we call civic action programmes or part of community policing, like we are organising football tournaments," he said.
In the last few years, the rebels have stepped up their efforts against the government as well as the locals, after various locals complained that Maoist activities such as killings and abductions increased considerably in the area.
Maoists have also significantly increased their presence in tribal and rural regions in the states of Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha (earlier known as Orissa).
The Maoists say they are fighting for the rights of millions of landless labourers and marginal farmers.
However, the government has termed them to be India's main internal security threat and an obstacle to higher growth and more jobs in Asia's third-largest economy.
Hundreds die annually in the conflict, although levels of violence have fallen in recent years.