Using Songs And Plays,     Chhattisgarh Police Is Beating Maoists In Bastar At Their Own Game Police officers patrolling the naxal infested forests at Bijapur near Dantewada. (Sattish Bate/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

For long, Maoists had been using songs and plays to increase their influence in an expanse of nearly 3,900 sq km spread across Narayanpur, Bijapur and parts of Kondagaon district of Bastar region. Now, the Chhattisgarh police have taken up the task of beating the Maoists at their own game.

According to a report in the Hindustan Times, the Chhattisgarh police have circulated five songs across Abujhmarh jungles to counter Maoist propaganda. While two of these songs have been sung by artists, three songs have been sung by one of their officers. The officer, Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Maheswar Nag, recorded the three songs in Halbi and Chhattisgarhiya dialects in December.

The new strategy has yielded results. The police have claimed that the arrest of 39 Maoist cadre and surrender of 20 between January and March this year was a direct result of the new strategy adopted by them.

“Maoists use their cultural troupes as the first move when assessing a village or region,” the daily quoted a police officer serving in Bastar as saying. “They have multiple mandalis, which move from village to village, performing songs and staging plays in weekly bazaars,” the officer added.

The police see these songs as a direct competition to Maoist cultural troupes known as Chetana Natya Mandalis. While one song captures the devastation and damage done by Maoists in Bastar, another portrays the development work carried out by successive governments in the region.

“The songs are distributed to the school teachers, panchayat functionaries, anganwadis, health centres, and fair price shops. You can hear villagers in remote areas singing them,” ASP Nag said.

The police is now planning to up the ante by recording more songs in other local dialects such as Gondi and staging plays using villagers as actors.

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