Raipur: Resorting to an unusual method to counter Maoists, the Bastar police in Chhattisgarh Tuesday released posters depicting Naxal activities through memes and data.
Terming the campaign a “propaganda against Maoists in Chhattisgarh”, police officers said this is a “move to expose the real and ugly face of the Maoist cadres”.
They also said this is an attempt to make the local population aware about the “anti-tribal and anti-development” scheming of the Maoist cadres in the state.
The police have released three posters, and all of them have been titled in English (‘Voice of Bastar’), Hindi (‘Bastar ki Awaaz’) and local languages like Gondi (‘Bastar Tha Matta’) and Halbi (‘Bastar Cho Awaaz’) so that the propaganda reaches the tribal population, specially the youth, said the police.
The police will now put up the posters on social media platforms, at public places and also distribute them among people.
‘It’s part of perception management’
Speaking to ThePrint, Bastar Range Inspector General of Police (IG) Sundarraj P., who came up with the campaign idea, said the concept is not new, but “its intensity is high this time”.
“It’s part of perception management, which is always there in the curriculum of the security forces. Earlier also, we used to do some propaganda with pamphlets and leaflets, but the intensity of the perception management was very low and it was primarily limited to English and Hindi languages,” he added.
“Now Halbi and Gondi have also been added with the sole aim to educate and win the confidence of the local public over the misdeeds of the Naxals,” the IG said.
What the posters are all about
One of the posters released by the Bastar police is a chat between senior Maoist leader ‘Basavraj’, who is seeking a report from one of his cadres ‘Deva’, about the extent of police camps set up in their strongholds and public perception about the same.
Basavraj asks Deva to tell the cadres to prevent villagers from taking part in the ‘Janta Camps’ organised by the police as people will then become aware of their schemes, and the Naxals will lose control over the villagers. A ‘Janta Camp’ is where police officers address the issues of the local tribal population.
To this, Deva says he will try but he also asks how long they would mislead the people.
The other two posters carry the details of Maoists’ violence in the state in the last 20 years, for example, “brutal killing of 1,769 innocent civilians”, “demolition of 186 schools”, “destruction of 226 roads/bridges”, and “burning down of 640 vehicles”.
Police to also make short films and audio clips
IG Sundarraj said the state police with the help of central paramilitary forces like the CRPF, BSF, ITBP and SSB has over the years made considerable inroads into the strongholds of the Communist Party of India (Maoists).
The induction of anti-Naxal task forces like DRG (District Reserve Guard), STF (Special Task Force) and CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) has given the much needed operational edge to the security forces, the IG added.
“In addition to the ongoing offensive operations against the red guerrillas, there is a strong need to expose the real and ugly face of the Maoists. For this, the Bastar police has launched the posters to expose the misdeeds of Maoists,” said Sundarraj.
He added that they will also start a series of short films, and release audio clips, besides other propaganda tools, to wage a high-octane campaign against Naxals.
Dantewada SP Abhishek Pallava said, “The move will help the police reach the local masses smoothly and fast in the era of social media. The main beneficiary will be the youth. It’s also a befitting counter to the letters, pamphlets and leaflet campaigns of the Naxals.”
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