New Delhi: In the densely forested Kaimur hills in Rohtas, villagers are now the Bihar Police’s first line of defence against Maoists. The tribals in Rohtas district in Bihar who till yesterday didn’t know much beyond sowing fields or grazing cattle are now being taught to pick up guns and shoot. The police are providing soft loans to the tribals to help them procure weapons and also training them to shoot for self-defence.
Ram Sevak Singh, a villager, says, “We have got the loan to buy arms. We are ready to fights against Moaists.” Manu Maharaj, SP, Rohtas, says, “We cannot penetrate the tribal areas. So arms licences have been issued for self-protection. It’s a Maoist affected area.”
In keeping with the Supreme Court orders in the Salwa Judum case, the tribal cannot be armed directly.
“Police and the government have given us lots of facilities. They have given us loans, rifles, and also most importantly the training required to fight Maoists,” says Rajeshwar Kharwar, a tribal.
For the tribal it is a question of survival. Their settlements here are highly scattered and there are no roads for security forces to come to their rescue during a Maoist attack.
Tribal taking up guns to counter Naxal menace is a clear testimony to the fact that the situation on the ground is far from being normal. These guns are supposed to add to police’s firepower, especially in remote areas where police has minimal presence. And these tribal are left to fight their own battle.
The initiative may not be as per the rule book, but it has certainly boosted the morale of Bihar’s population.