Monday, June 17, 2013

Teens in Naxal-hit areas given guided tour of state



Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The state government is trying to win hearts and minds of children in Gadchiroli and Gondia districts, which have been hit by left-wing insurgency.
    The government along with the police has started a new practice in which 80 students aged between 13 and 15 are taken on a 10-day tour across the state every month in order to “introduce them to the outside world”. “We want to motivate them to pursue their studies seriously and chart out a successful career for themselves,” said a state government official. 

    P K Jain, additional director general of police (special operations) said the issue of Naxal violence was
discussed with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan 10 months ago. “We decided to motivate students from Naxal-affected areas to pursue higher education and seek into government jobs. We don’t want youngsters to be enamoured with Naxal ideology or sympathize with insurgents. For this exercise, we had to bring the students from those areas and show them the outside world.”
    Deven Bharti, special inspector general of police (law and order) said after discussing several strategies the state government and the police zeroed in on the idea. “As part of this exercise, we brought 80 girls and boys (Class VIII to X) and gave them a guided tour of Mumbai two days ago. They enjoyed the ferry ride at Gateway of India. We took them to the airport and allowed them to sit inside an aircraft. It was their first such experience and they loved it,” said Bharti.
    The second batch of 80 students will come to Mumbai next week after visiting Nagpur and Pune. In Mumbai, they will be taken to Jijamata Udyan, Gateway of India, Girgaum Chowpatty, Taraporewala Aquarium, Chhattrapati Shivaji museum, government offices and shopping malls.   “We are trying to fix a meeting of these students with actor Aamir Khan. Once we get his dates, the children will get to meet the superstar and interact with him,” said an official.
    The state is spending Rs 10,000 on each student for the 10-day trip. “Children will also be given scholarships to pursue higher education,” said a police source.
Terror Trail Toll in Gadchiroli district between January and May

• A policeman is killed killed in an ambush

• 18 encounters took place between cops and Naxals

• 17 naxalites are killed in operations, 12 arrested and 28 surrendered

•92.6 kg explosives seized

• Public and government property worth Rs 1.27 crore is damaged

The Times of India, June 17, 2013

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