Kaimur was once upon a time known for its peace and poverty. The schemes made for development of this area frequently went into the cobweb of corruption. In the late 70s, the dacoits or social rebels began to get shelter here and sued to move and rule. The story started with Mohan Bind, whose reign was similar to the themes of super hit Bollywood film entitled Dakait, a big super hit by Rahul Rawel. For two decades, when the government was busy to root out these criminals, the Maoists went from strength to strength in the Kaimur hills, till such time when they could declare the entire terrain a liberated zone. They have elephantine foothold among the most deprived population of Indian sub-continent, i.e. the tribals. A report from challenging terrain of Kaimur hills of Vindhya Range.
Karamtaria, A Tribal Hamlet in Kaimur Hills of Rohtas, Bihar
Naxalism is really a law and order problem. The Government of India is addressing the menace simultaneously on political, security, development and public perception management fronts in a holistic manner. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has called it the biggest internal threat, yet there is no clarity about tackling the danger. So, lack of coordination and cohesion between the police and district administration is also a major issue.
“Intensively dense with heavy undergrowth, comprising hills as well as plains in both Rohtas and Kaimur districts, where Kaimur existed, the forest has been the abode of the most backward and improvised tribes of this holtscape, who are now the feeders for the movement,” says Prabhat Pandey, a journalist, who hails from Bandu village of district Rohtas. Considering that its remoteness ensured that the organs of government machinery remained at the periphery, the forest has been a haven for the Naxals to flourish and expand there area of operation interrupted.
For two decades, when the government was busy to root out these criminals, the Maoists went from strength to strength in the Kaimur hills, till such time when they could declare the entire terrain a liberated zone. “Since there is no police in the area, once the police enter the area, it will become a war zone like Bastar district of Chhattisgarh. On a policeman’s map of Rohtas and Kaimur hills stands out as a black mark with this fact that there is no police station in this terrain,” Prabhat ends with this information. “The police are depleted, demoralized, untrained and ill equipped. The early encounters with the Maoists, in which the police suffered huge casualties, did nothing to uplift the flagging morals,” Devendra Kumar, a advocate of Sasaram cocks.
“The saga of Kaimur is enveloped in pain and pangs. What is being propagated by the Naxals the crude but hard facts about the non-existence of market, Public Distribution System (PDS), electricity, dispensary, Primary Health Centre (PHC) and even primary school for girls. The Kaimur hills has only one things that is Morem road that is made specially for carrying Kendu leaves by trucks during summer days, otherwise from mid-June to the advent of September, the road is not used due to rains”, Dr. Devendra Nath Sinha of Sasaram says. “Chronic drought, rampant poverty, rapid globalization and corruption are becoming the villains in the lives of local tribal communities. The huge population is barely depends on cultivation, food gathering, animal husbandry and Kendu leaves collection during scorching summer days”, he concludes. They cannot achieve food security. “The lack of employment and huge hiatus between public and government, the tribals are bound to join the groups. “We know, the Hakim (officer) never visits our place. The Naxals frequently come to us, participate in our festivals, marriage ceremony and listen our agony. They repeatedly organize Janata Adalat once in a month and provide justice and relief. Now, nobody can dare to grab our property… our home and hearth is safe… we are safe… specially our sisters and daughters are well protected by the Naxals,” Ramji Oraon of Chandodih informs.
There is no law and order in Kaimur. Recalls Siddhnath Pathak, a retired teacher, who spent one third of his service in different residential schools of Kaimur, “The tribals were governed by the so-called upper castes of plain areas. They were timber traders and also big exploiters of tribal girls. Once it was believed great honor for any tribal baby to have sexual relation with any outsiders, which converted this entire land a big red light area. Severe exploitation, human degradation, sexual harassment are the order of the day in the age of Panchayati Raj”. The present picture itself says the motive of grassroot bureaucrats and even national leaders like Jagjeevan Ram, who were elected parliamentarian all along his life but fate of Kaimurites remained unchanged. “The pace of development is painful slow in Kaimur hills. So, dacoits and then Naxals captured the entire terrain to run parallel government,” says Bashishth Kumar Singh, a Sasaram based lawyer.
“Through Sarkar apke dwar (Government at your doorsteps) program, the government envisages to bring development to the people, particularly to the underprivileged section of the society, we have great hope,” reports District Magistrate of Rohtas. The government is intended to do rehabilitation and to make income generation, so that they can be put on the mainstream of nation but what’s the blue print in the psyche of district administration in the context of Kaimur, the DM has no answer. “We guess Sarkar apke dwar will take at least one decade to reach at the doorstep of Kaimurites because senior officers like DM Rohtas, never imagined in this particular aspect.
“We have problems and we have to think for that area… at present we are undertaking this program in the foothills of Kaimur. The initiative is successful. Once I would love to visit Kaimur,” he vows. Yes, once Kaimur was adventurer’s paradise and best picnic spot in old Shahabad district but right now the life of Kaimur is imbued in red color and undoubtedly it is drooling and dribbling in red fever.