Updated: January 31, 2019 7:34:00 pm
Maoists of the Pamed Area Committee in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district have demanded hospitals and schools in “their area”, besides appointment of doctors and teachers.
In a pamphlet released Wednesday morning, but written over a week ago, the first of the 17 point demand is: “Humaare kshetra mein ashram, school, aspatal khola jaave. Sarkaari gurujiyon, doctoron ki niyukti kiya jaave.” (Hostels, schools and hospitals be opened in our area. Government teachers and doctors be also appointed.)
Senior police officers and government sources in Bijapur confirmed to The Indian Express that such a pamphlet had been released. The police was, however, treating it with scepticism, an official said, adding this may be “a way Maoists try and get local population on their side.”
The remaining 17 points in the pamphlet seek jobs for the unemployed, loan waivers, bonus for farmers, as well as pensions, a demand to reopen schools that have been shut, increase in salaries for teachers, and good facilities in all schools and hospitals. The letter, issued by the Pamed Area Committee of the CPI (Maoist), also wants the government to put an end to the practice of police combing, removal of police camps “brought in the name of development”, and creation of tribal-only battalions such as the Bastar Battalion of the CRPF.
Ganesh Mishra, President of the Bijapur Press Club and a journalist in the area for two decades said in his experience, he had never heard of such demands being made by Maoists. “A pamphlet demanding schools, hospitals, and the appointment of teachers and doctors is something I have never encountered before. It is a good thing if they are asking for it. But this could also be an attempt to win back the confidence of the people,” Mishra said.
P Sundar Raj, Deputy Inspector General (Anti Naxal Operations) said, “The strategy of the government and the police is to do exactly these things and bring development. But this (issuing pamphlet with such demands) seems like an attempt to get sympathy of the people, and the public will not fall for it. The Maoists have been identified as anti-development and pro-violence. If they have issued this and believe it, why do they still continue to damage public property and commit acts of arson. Over the years, school buildings have also been targeted. There is a difference between what they say and what they do.”
Senior police officials admitted they were “intrigued” and were looking at reasons behind the move. “Initially, there was doubt as to whether this was authentic.
The government has made strides in the last year in Pamed particularly. The area committee is weakening and the supplies to the Pamed camp used to be air dropped. But we have now built a road through neighbouring Telangana. Its possible they they have said this to appear benevolent to people, or for money that may find its way to the area if construction takes place. If they allow schools and hospitals to function peacefully, that can only be good,” a senior police official said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines