Police for friendly relations with villagers in Jharkhand

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Ghumla (Jharkhand), Feb.8 (ANI): In an initiative to develop confidence among local residents in Maoist-affected Jharkhand state, the police are taking steps to improve their relations with the villagers here.

Police officials have increased their interaction with villagers and often participate in social activities. They make them aware of their basic rights and are always eager to lend a helping hand during trying times of the residents.

Police personnel at times distribute gifts among villagers, and informally interact with them as part of a novel approach to community-based policing.

Villagers, who could not approach police fearing Maoists' wrath, today talk to policemen without fear. Also, they have been able to overcome their fear of the men in uniform.

"We used to be terrified by the activities carried out by Maoists and other such groups. Earlier, the police used to come to the village only when they had to nab any culprit. But now, the police frequently visit our homes and schools. We don't feel scared now. They even distribute blankets and toys," said Rapu Turi, a villager.

Over 1,350 people have been killed in Maoist-related violence over the last seven years in Jharkhand where the insurgents claim to be fighting for the rights of poor farmers and landless labourers.

Police officials say the wish to improve their image among villagers. "The work of the police is to catch hold of the anti-social people. We do not go and mingle with the people very often. And the Maoists and other anti-social elements are taking advantage of this and are misleading the gullible villagers. We aim to send a message across to the villagers through this program that the police are just against the culprits and not against the villagers," said Upendra Kumar, superintendent of police, Ghumla district.

Life is tough for the villagers in insurgency-hit areas. Many of the villagers find themselves trapped in catch-22 situation, as police takes actions if they do not cooperate and if they do, the Maoists target them.

Maoist rebels claim they are fighting for the rights of poor farmers and landless labourers. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already described the insurgency as the gravest threats to India's internal security. y Girija Shankar Ojha(ANI)

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