UP: Bundelkhand no longer moves to dacoits’ diktats

Banda (UP), April 22 (IANS) There are no ‘farmaans’ (diktats) being issued from inside the jungles and there are no relatives or supporters of dacoits contesting the polls this time.

There are also no slogans like ‘Vote padega — par, nahin to laash milegi ghati par”.

The majority of the dacoit gangs have either been eliminated or their gang members have been put behind bars.

“Dacoits like Dadua, Nirbhay Gujjar, Thokia, Ragiya, Balkhadiya, Babli Kol, Lalaram, Shri Ram and Ramvir have been eliminated. Their gangs have disintegrated and their relatives are now wary of contesting polls,” said Sarvan Singh, a resident of a Tindwari in Banda district.

Dadua’s brother Bal Kumar Patel, a former MP, is in Banda jail on charges of forgery.

Dadua’s son Veer Singh won one assembly election and then lost two after his father’s demise. He is currently on a sabbatical from politics.

Singh recalls: “Earlier during elections, every village would get a message from the ravines and we would be specifically asked to support a particular party or candidate. Everyone complied because if the votes in a village were not polled according to the ‘farmaan’, the consequences would be dangerous.”

A retired police official said that Dadua’s word held sway over around 52 villages in Chitrakoot-Banda area.

“He would decide the poll outcome in these villages that were dominated by the Kurmi community. It is because of this that political parties patronised the dacoit and sought his help in elections,” the retired police official said.

Similarly, the Lala Ram and Shri Ram gangs held sway over Thakur votes in the Kanpur region while Chavi Ram Yadav dominated the Farrukhabad-Mainpuri belt.

The elimination of these dacoit gangs has allowed democracy to breathe in the region and candidates are now campaigning fearlessly.

The issues being talked about are related to development and the narrative in the region has shifted to books from bullets.

The police are making an effort to instil confidence in the people by conducting ‘Patha Ki Police Pathshala’ for the unprivileged kids in areas such as Markundi, Manikpur, and Bahilpurwa.

Kids are attending school and singing rhymes while the cops interact with parents, urging them to send their children to school.

ADG (Prayagraj zone) Bhanu Bhaskar said, “After the elimination of major bandit gangs, cops are working as Mitra Police to win the trust of villagers and are working to promote education.”

He said that the exercise is a part of community policing and the cops have turned teachers and take classes under the initiative.

The cops are also organising “Jan Chaupals’ to win the trust of villagers who had maintained a distance from police between 1970 and 2018.

After the elimination of bandit gangs, cops faced difficulties in connecting with villagers, who initially maintained distance from police due to various reasons.

Arun Kumar Singh, Superintendent of Police, Chitrakoot said that apart from the education of kids, the cops have also taken help from women volunteers in improving the image of police among women under the Mission Shakti campaign.

“Under it, the women police knock at the doors of people to apprise women about their rights,” he said.

–IANS

amita/dan

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