DGP Rajiv Kumar dabbles in cricket at Jhumra, Bokaro, on Wednesday morning. Picture by Pankaj Singh
Jhumra (Bokaro), March 19: Jhumra Hills is arguably the most inhospitable terrain in the country, comfortably ahead of crossfire zones in Jammu and Kashmir, state DGP Rajiv Kumar has said after a visit to the Naxalite hub, which he hopes to convert into a tourist hotspot in three years.
Kumar’s argument is that in Jhumra, the security personnel have to be on guard on “all six directions” — east, west, north, south, the ground itself beneath which lie landmines, and the hilltop.
The newly appointed DGP, who trekked a treacherous 14km stretch from Rahwan to reach the hilltop on Tuesday, revealed he took up the challenge after a senior IPS officer put it sardonically that “unless one has visited Jhumra, one has not seen Jharkhand”.
Dressed in combat fatigue with an automatic gun in hand, the DGP set out with a few top officers and a contingent of troops, accompanied by this correspondent, on Tuesday around 2pm.
Speaking exclusively to The Telegraph, he said: “I have ordered 200 jawans of JAP-I battalion to be sent to Netarhat school for training in jungle warfare. The first batch leaves on March 24. I have stressed rigorous training for every jawan to bring out the best in them under the wings of IG or additional director-general ranked officers.”
The personnel have been asked to be more people-friendly, a crucial factor in winning over Maoists in their den.
Soon after reaching the hilltop on Tuesday, the DGP took part in a volleyball match with policemen in the evening and joined signing personnel in chorus to lift their morale.
Yesterday morning, the sporting DGP was back in action in a cricket match. Later, at a meeting of the joint forces, he said he was ready to solve their problems but also wanted positive results from them.
According to highly placed sources in the police, the state administration is spending more than Rs 1.60 crore every month in a bid to wrest control over Jhumra, where one battalion of CRPF and another of JAP Gorkha jawans are holding fort.
The personnel have to ferry everything, from shoelaces to medicines and grains, from their Rahwan base camp up the hills.
Similar to DGP Kumar, it wa also the first visit to the hilltop for senior IPS Murarilal Meena.
The DGP returned to Ranchi via Bokaro around 10am yesterday, along with Meena, DIG Laxman Singh, Bokaro SP Kuldip Dwivedi and second-in-command of CRPF’s 26th battalion Vikas Pandey, among others.
Before that, he was sure that within three years, the Naxalite menace in Jhumra would be totally wiped out.