Patna Police 'act' on Maoists through street plays

Rattled by reports that Maoists had been spreading their tentacles in the rural areas of Patna district, the police have devised a novel method to persuade  armed guerrillas to give up weapons and join mainstream society.

The Patna Police have decided to hire theatre artistes who will hold nukkad natak (street play) in remote areas which, of late, have become a hotbed for Maoist activities.

These artistes, including women, will organise street-corner meetings and stage plays.
“The nukkad natak will be used as a platform to publicise the state government’s  policy of surrender-and-rehabilitation for the Maoists and encourage them to join the mainstream,” said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Patna, Manu Maharaj.

The SSP has identified around 30 police stations, mostly in remote areas under his jurisdiction, where the theatre artistes from Prayas—a cultural organisation—will perform and also apprise people about the violence unleashed by the underground rebels.

To begin with, he asked the theatre group to start its show from Paliganj and Masaurhi, the two Maoist-infested areas.

Mithilesh Singh, director of Prayas, said it was a privilege for his troupe members to perform on behalf of the police and help bring in social reforms.

The idea struck Manu Maharaj as he, during his previous stint as Rohtas SP, had brought in a metamorphosis in the hilly terrain of the Kaimur forest.

Once, during the community policing programme, he met some women who complained to him that they were ruined by the liquor mafia and Maoist elements.
The Maoists, they said, were playing with the lives of male members of their family and exploiting the illiterate tribals to join the Maoist war against the police.

The intrepid women told the SP to recruit them into the police so that they could take on the erring male members of their locality.

“I, too, personally wanted to bring tribals from hilly area to mainstream society. It was then that the idea of forming Women Gram Raksha Dal (WGRD) in every village struck me,” Manu said.

Those women who were desirous of offering their services to the WGRD were recruited. The drive proved to be a turning point for the plateau region. Buoyed by its success, Manu has now decided to quell Maoists within the Patna district through the theatre route.

The move appears to be a welcome step but some theatre artistes remain apprehensive about their security in the Maoists’ den.
The police, however, allayed their fears and insisted that they will constantly keep an eye on the troupe members.
DH News Service

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