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Rohtas SP saves Bihar’s face
- Message reaches districts late, top officers miss Centre’s anti-Red meet

New Delhi, Aug. 26: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar may boast of road construction, but messages from the police headquarters in Patna to district headquarters still seem to be snail-mail.

At a counter-Naxalite workshop held in the ministry of home affairs for 26 superintendents of police (SPs) from the most-affected districts had just one officer from Bihar. Five officers were invited by the government of India of whom only Rohtas SP Manu Maharaj participated.

“We asked why only one came and the answer was that the communication from the headquarters reached the officers only last evening,” said a government source.

So what did they miss? Besides Union home minister P.Chidambaram’s message that cops should try and apprehend top Naxalite leaders, they missed experts from various fields, resource persons, including retired officers from the Army, and some officers who had served successful stints in the Grey Hounds of Andhra Pradesh.

In fact, the ministry of home affairs received a confirmation from the Bihar government only on Thursday. “The below mentioned officers are being allowed to leave Bihar and visit Delhi (for the workshop),” said the message from the state government.

On the contrary, Jharkhand sent seven SPs, followed by five SPs from Chhattisgarh, three officers each from Bengal and Orissa and two officers from Andhra Pradesh.

Bihar is one of the most-hit among the nine Maoist-affected states. In fact, its five districts are among the less than 30 districts which witness 80 per cent of all the Naxalite violence.

The workshop dealt with key issues faced by the police in Naxalite-affected areas. “It means how not to alienate the population, how to seek cooperation and how to counter Maoist propaganda,” said a government officer. “Apply the mind and win minds and hearts,” the officers were told.

Almost all the speakers spoke against human rights violations and the need for the police to restraint trigger-happy people and attitudes.

Meanwhile, Maharaj spoke of the force crunch faced by the police in districts, a point which Nitish has been raising for long, but others were absent from the classroom.

S.M Jain, SP Aurangabad, P.Kannan, SP Munger, Pankaj Kumar Raj, SP Nawada and Shyam Kumar, SP Banka, seemed to have learnt of their invites only last evening.

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