A quiet but firm initiative of the Union Home Ministry in some of the Naxalite-affected districts is showing positive signs of restoring development schemes.
Despite the Naxalite attacks targeting jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Chhattisgarh and killings of the so-called “police informers'' in villages, the government is identifying pockets in the Naxal-violence hit States where villagers have been successful in resisting the influence of the extremists, favouring civic action to consolidate the developmental agenda.
Citing the example of Bundu area near Ranchi in Jharkhand, officials here said that there was groundswell of opposition to Naxals in about 25 to 30 villages on either side of the Kanchi river. The area was, till recently, considered to be the stronghold of Kundan Pahan, a Naxal leader who hails from there. Probably, the villagers' opposition was triggered by the alleged excesses and wanton killings committed by the Naxals. “Anybody who did not fall in line or was considered to be pro-administration or police informer, was dealt mercilessly by the Maoists,” reports received by the Home Ministry from Jharkhand said.
The district police began civic action programmes in Bundu which was carried forward by the CRPF camps, instilling some confidence in the villagers who held several meetings denouncing the Naxals and their activities. The last such meeting was held in Bundu on July 1 where villagers reportedly came out openly for development, and against Naxals. Predictably, a Naxal squad killed one of the villagers who had spoken at the meeting and left posters warning further retaliatory action against persons who opposed them.
However, the villagers, though a little guarded, continue to defy Naxals. With the help of local intelligence, the police was able to neutralise two leading members of the guerrilla squad of the Naxalites. Three police camps in the area are providing protection to the villagers and the police have pledged to continue with the operational offensive.
“Our effort is to consolidate the civic action and prevent Naxals from returning to this area. We are identifying more such pockets not only in Jharkhand but also in Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Maharashtra,” officials said.
Some of such areas are Kanker in Chhatttisgarh, Sarai Kela in Jharkhand, Sundergarh in Orissa, Narayanpatna in Koraput in Orissa.