Nalanda superintendent of police Nishant Kumar Tiwary on Sunday led a community policing programme at Chhabilapur village, around 135km southeast of Patna, in Nalanda district to counter the growing Maoist threat in the area.
Apart from organising a health check-up camp for the residents of the village and its adjoining areas, the security personnel distributed education kits among schoolchildren during the programme named “Police at your doorstep”. Senior police personnel were present at the programme. A team of doctors, including eye specialists of Veerayatan, a Rajgir-based non-government organisation, checked patients and provided them with medicines free of cost.
Tiwary said: “Police often receive intelligence inputs that Maoists are targeting children and attempting to influence them to join the banned outfit as cadres. Our aim is to create awareness among the younger lot, who are gullible. This programme is a way to bridge the gap between the police and the public. We have also tried to create employment opportunities for the people.”
He added that it was the police’s responsibility to help the district administration officials carry out development work in remote villages considered hotbed of the Maoists. Lack of development work in rural areas provides the rebels an opportunity to extend their influence among the residents of these areas. “These types of welfare programmes will help the police counter their influence,” he said.
Tiwary, who also has a bachelor’s degree in engineering, said the Nalanda police would chalk out a detailed plan to counter the Naxalite menace in the area. “Since Nalanda is a tourist destination, we will try to impart some sort of training to unemployed youths so that that can earn money and lead a dignified life,” he said, adding that students are at times attracted by the Naxalite ideology.
“Now the rebels are trying to raise an army of child soldiers, which is, in no way, good for society. We should strike at this stage so that they don’t succeed in their mission. This can be achieved by raising awareness and helping the younger lot to take decisions regarding their life,” he added.
Around 200 school students from the underprivileged section of society attended the programme, as did villagers of Naitpur, Nayaar, Garaur, Lodipur, Aamirganj, Churi and Katari under the jurisdiction of Chhabilapur police station of the district. They turned up at the health check-up camp where eye specialists also performed a few cataract operations.
The community policing programme also went a long way to change the perception of the people about the police. “Earlier when the police would come to our village, we used to feel scared. But now we know that they are not bad people. We are not scared anymore. The policemen stayed with us for several hours, which changed our mindset and we feel that they are nice people,” said Ramagya Singh, a resident of Chhabilapur.