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Jharkhand Police use light aircraft to drop pamphlets over naxal-affected areas to increase awareness

The officials said that the initiative was aimed at increasing awareness among the people in these areas about the Left-Wing Extremists in a shorter span of time.

Written by Prashant Pandey | Ranchi |
Updated: January 27, 2017 7:43:56 pm
Cops posing with pamphlets that were airdropped in naxal-affected Simdega district to raise awareness about activities and rewards of Left-Wing Extremists. (Source: Jharkhand Police media cell) Cops posing with pamphlets that were airdropped in naxal-affected Simdega district to raise awareness about activities and rewards of Left-Wing Extremists. (Source: Jharkhand Police media cell)

In a first of its kind of initiative, the Jharkhand police on Friday used light aircraft to distribute pamphlets having names (with rewards announced on them) of top functionaries of the People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI), a splinter Maoist group. The distribution was done mainly in Simdega district, besides its border areas with Odisha and some other neighbouring districts.

The officials said that the initiative was aimed at increasing awareness among the people in these areas about the Left-Wing Extremists in a shorter span of time. Such initiatives would be taken from time-to-time in future, the officials said. Additional Director General (Operations) and Jharkhand police spokesperson R K Mullick said, “In the past, a couple of times choppers were used for this purpose. But that was a few years ago.”

The pamphlets carry the names of PLFI’s top commanders, including its supremo Dinesh Gop. They mention the rewards announced against them, which in Gop’s case is Rs 25 lakh. There are at least 10 others with rewards ranging from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. One of the members is likely to have a reward of Rs 1 lakh. The police have appealed in the pamphlets that the identity of the informant, whose tip-off leads to arrest of the extremists, would be kept secret and they would be suitably rewarded.

“It was felt that there was a need for spreading awareness among people about the extremists. Airdropping pamphlets cover a large area in a short time. This airdropping was done using the report from the district SP, who had got the areas ear-marked. Such initiative would be carried out in future as and when the need is felt,” said Mullick.

Explaining the choice of light aircraft over chopper, Mullick said, “Light aircrafts are easier when it comes to covering larger areas. There are also some logistical issues with choppers. Since the state government has the required aircraft, we requested them for the same. They gave us the permission and we used it.”

Simdega Superintendent of Police, Rajeev Ranjan Singh said, “Our experience suggested that the penetration of the usual media in interior areas is very poor. Therefore, trying to create awareness through TV, newspapers or mobile phones may not have been of much use.

“Today’s initiative saw nearly 20,000 pamphlets being airdropped in Simdega, border areas with Odisha, and also some areas of Chaibasa and Gumla. Officials said that this also helped the police in overcoming issues related to hostile terrain and access, as they might face logistical problems or resistance. Further, as the residents in the interior areas remain largely cut-off from the outer world, it was possible that they were not aware about the illegal activities of ultras.

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