ANDHRA PRADESH

Police Maitri sports meet concludes

DHARPALLI (NIZAMABAD DT.), MARCH 3. This naxalite-affected mandal, about 50 km from the district headquarters, witnessed an unusual spectacle on Wednesday as hundreds of villagers took out a huge peace rally to mark the conclusion of the 10-day sports competitions organised for youth by the Police Maitri Sanghams.

Today's peace rally, led by the youth and the villagers including a number of former militants, which was aimed at sending signals to the People's War, was an instant hit. Dharpalli mandal as a whole was a PW stronghold and over a dozen villages were under the complete sway of the naxalites. The Superintendent of Police, N.Madhusudan Reddy, the Nizamabad DSP, Ranjit Singh, and the Armoor DSP, Faridappa, joined the rally. Villages like Sirnapalli, considered the headquarters of the PW in the district, is today free of the naxal movement and the youth have joined hands with the police for the welfare of their villages.

Gouraram, Yellareddipalli, Ramadugu, Ansanpalli, Donkal, Dubbak and other villages were also under the PW influence. The mandal was witness to a series of exchanges of fire between the police and the naxals for several years. But things have changed and there has been a sea change in the attitude of the people towards the Police Department.

Under the changed scenario, the district police decided to concentrate on weaning away the youth from the influence of the destructive forces. The police came up with an action plan to hold a rural sports meet for the youth of the affected mandals. In tune with the plan, a 10-day sports competition in cricket, kabaddi and volleyball was conducted in Dharpalli mandal headquarters from February 22. To mark the conclusion of the Police Maitri Sports meet, a meeting was organised for the youth and the villagers. Prior to the meeting, a huge rally was taken out from the outskirts of the mandal headquarters.

Amid drum beats, the rally passed through the main thoroughfares of the mandal headquarters before culminating in a public meeting on the premises of the Laxmi Narsimha Swamy temple, a little distance away from the local police station. The meeting saw the villagers and a couple of former militants narrating their experiences with the police a couple of years ago and the changed attitude now.

A former sarpanch explained how a serious dispute between two villages was solved by the timely intervention of senior officials. The SP urged the people to take all precautions in view of the ensuing elections. He pleaded with them not to give credence to the call of poll boycott and said that voters would be provided security to exercise their franchise. The Dichpalli CI, S.Mohan Reddy, Bheemgal CI, Srikant, Dichpalli SI, Ramakrishna, and Dharpalli SI, Md. Waheeduddin, were present.