| Tarapur sub-divisional police officer Rajvansh Singh speaks to the Shravani Mela volunteers. Picture by Amit Kumar |
Binod Kumar, a kiosk operator at Asarganj (en route of pilgrims from Sultanganj to Deoghar), has an additional job: help police ensure the month-long Shravani Mela remains peaceful.
Munger police, for the first time, have appointed 150 volunteers to assist them in maintaining law and order during the month-long Shravani Mela. These volunteers will monitor the activities on the 26km stretch of the kanwariya path that passes through Munger district.
Binod is among the 150 volunteers who have been assigned the additional responsibility apart from helping the pilgrims on their journey.
Barun Kumar Sinha, the Munger superintendent of police, who has received success after reviving the special police officers against Maoists in recent times, has now appointed these volunteers to make the Shravani Mela successful and peaceful.
“Our aim is to strengthen the public-friendly policing. We hope to provide better policing on the kanwariya path falling in our jurisdiction with the help of the volunteers as well as to provide service to the pilgrims,” Sinha said.
Rajvansh Singh, the sub-divisional police officer, Tarapur, acting on a directive of Sinha, has instructed the volunteers at Tarapur police station on July 15 about their responsibilities and provided them white T-shirts with government monogram.
Unlike the special police officers, who get remuneration from the government, these volunteers will work for free. Singh said: “We have selected the volunteers from rural areas who have come forward voluntarily to help us. We won’t give them any remuneration. They would provide their service for free.”
The 26km stretch of the kanwariya path fall under the jurisdictions of Asarganj, Tarapur and Sangrampur police stations in Munger. Fifty volunteers have been appointed for each police station.
Singh said since the number of pilgrims every day sometimes crosses more than 1 lakh, it becomes very difficult for the police to keep a watch on everything. “Therefore, the volunteers now have to remain cautious in their respective areas and would provide us information if they spot any wrong doing. We have given our cellphone numbers to the volunteers,” he said.
The volunteers also have to help the pilgrims on their way to Deoghar, Singh added. “We have asked the volunteers to wear the white T-shirts so that the pilgrims could easily identify them and approach them for help,” he said.
Singh said with the help of the volunteers, the police have become more confident about better policing on the path.
The volunteers have also been instructed to keep a watch on whether the shopkeepers on the kanwariya path charge extra amount from the pilgrims and report the problems faced by them.
However, the police have not been successful to appoint any woman for the service. “We thought of appointing women volunteers, but did not find any of them. We hope that women would come forward voluntarily in the future,” Singh said.