Encountering Maoist think tank
Gadachiroli district in Maharashtra is the dreadful dream for any police officer to work for as the region is severely affected and occupied by the Naxalites.
When I was posted as Superintendent of Police in Gadachiroli district, Maharashtra fighting down the Naxalism was one of the toughest challenge before our force. While I was on duty I had to visit the insurmountable areas in many parts of district to understand the nature and pattern of work these Naxalites used to employ against us. In this process we realized that the concept of armed revolution is not limited to the physical attacks against the government agencies. These Maoists were leading duel battle. Partial part of physical attack was visible to us on front. In the meantime they were giving us tough in war between ideologies. In fact they were winning ideological battle with us as we had had no clue about how they have systematic system of brainwashing the local youth to become the member of their movement. They implemented huge propaganda mechanism to attract the localite through books, pamphlets, street-plays.
Their motive is straight. The young brains must be blitzed by the overwhelming idea of “Red Revolution.” Their hearts ought to think that the government under they are living is completely useless to fulfill their needs. Justice can only be served if they follow the footprints shown by Mao Zedong.
Yes you can fight down the Naxalites face to face with an aid of holding gun in hand but how you will encounter their ideology? It was time to take a call and concentrate on the ideological battle with Maoists. There we come up with the concept of “Opening libraries in Police Stations”
The thought was multi-dimensional.
There must be a “Reading Revolution” against the “Red Revolution” led by Maoists.
It was high demand for the young generations in these sensitive parts that they should be literate and their thought process should be extended enough to know the balance between right and wrong. Secondly books were the best way to build the bridge between the local people and police force. There is an inevitable fear Maoists successfully created in the minds of people. Any innocent person if he or she found their way at police station there is no guarantee they could live their lives further as Maoists have strict eye on everyone who try to contact police. Libraries constructed in the premises of police stations was one of the best way to open the closed doors and welcoming the youth, women, senior citizens,encouraging them to step in for reading books.So far it was unique project and somewhat constructive in nature we worked on it instinctively. First library in police station premise was inaugurated on March 2016 at Burg village situated in Etapalli tehsil in Gadchiroli. This project expanded later in 30 police stations.
Initially everything went well but soon we had our next challenge ready. We opened nearly 30 libraries and now they all were waiting to be filled in by numerous books. Otherwise how they will carry their work? Therefore I had to make an appeal to the people that if they want to visit my office they should gift me a book instead of bouquet.
– Sandip Patil (IPS), Former Superintendent of Police, Gadachiroli dist. Maharashtra
This is the story of an initiative first of its kind started by a man who was in charge of law and order while he was posted in Gadachiroli. He is none other than newly appointed Superintendent of Police of Pune District Hon’ble Shree. Sandip Patil sir.
Coming back to the further part Sandip Patil had to rejoin the office of SP at Satara District after completing his tenure at Gadachiroli. As soon as he got the news of his transfer the first question before him was “what about the initiative he has taken to build libraries in police stations?” The whole idea come to the stake in anticipation of his absence. Soon he has taken the charge of Satara. There too he made a public appeal to give him a book instead of bouquet who were coming to greet him. He got a huge response where people were unanimously bringing books to his office. Total collection of ten thousand books in the first two month of his tenure in Satara packed well and sent back to the libraries situated at Gadachiroli police stations.
Well it’s hard to implement the ideas while you are working in the system. Many times IPS officers are helpless due to political pressures and heavy commitments of their jobs. Several times countless schemes go into the scrap since there is always a lack of political will power and barriers of constant transfers of these officers. Despite of all the odds of his profession bridging the gap between police and local people was a brilliant move played by Sandip Patil sir. Worth enough to affect the Naxalites in long run.
Gadchiroli is Naxal-infested district. It is a known to be a backward place. Reason? No facilities of government are capable to reach out due to its insurmountable location and incessant Naxal activities. The people do not have any means to contact with outer world. You may not find a mere newspaper to read before 1 pm in any area of district.
There is growing concern about increased activities of Maoists in the country since the inception of 2018. Koregaon-Bhima violence in Maharashtra was an eye opening example as to what extent these Naxalites could spread their strategy of divide and hatred. The major headache is widespread think-tank optimized and run by Maoist to break the vendetta. There is dire need to attack their think tanks.
Any major incidence could be created in thoughts. Thoughts become things later. When the young barrister was travelling in Africa at first class compartment where he was abused and thrown away from train due to his color he first had a “thought” in mind to revolt against this injustice. Soon this thought converted into determinism. This determinism led a successful nationwide movement against racism in Africa leaded by the same law erudite to whom world recognize as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. “Ahimsa” was a thought so is the “Armed Revolution” conceptualized by Mao but here person is less important. When thought become movement entities become useless. Creator may leave this world but thoughts are eternal. Therefore any movement can be solidified on the strongest base of its thought. This could be reversed where any movement could be conked out if the thought behind is encountered, weaken and brutally murdered. Doesn’t it apply to Maoism?
Maoists have the thickest underground network. It signifies they have infrangible think tank. Many erudite, professors, eminent authors, well known thinkers, social workers, master mind executors plays pivotal role to run the movement. Unfortunately there is no any think tank which could counter the Maoism today. How many authors, thinkers, luminaries are creating awareness about Maoism in society? The irony is geographical areas like Bastar, Gadachiroli are occupied and ruled by Maoists on the secular land of India where no government or its police can enter into without their permission. This is our biggest ideological defeat. G.N. Saibaba who is now arrested and put behind the bars was operating the movement in Bastar while seating in his wheel-chair at Delhi University. Oh he is just one tranche of an infinite chain.
Therefore special attention is required to destroy these think tanks. Maharashtra government is taking strict serge on Maoism. Pune police are calling off commendable action while ransacking and arresting Mao sympathizers. Maoism is not limited to any person. It’s a thought. While police are putting these Maoist connections behind the bars there are new candidates waiting outside eager to take the place of old players. They are targeting youngsters through their propaganda and there exactly we need to attack. We need to create an antagonistic think tank which will aggressively attack on the Maoist(ick) propaganda. Young generation in Naxalite district must be brought back in main stream. The land which becoming barren after mass production Maoists from years should be cultivated with different thought process. We need the young generation from Bastar or Gadachiroli to learn the main stream education. These places should be known for aspiring administrative officers, teachers, doctors, engineers, scientists.
The 30 lamps of knowledge lit by Sandip Patil may prosper and shall become the light house in the darker roads of Gadachiroli misled by these Maoist. We are counting on the same. Aren’t we?