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In Bihar, it's Big B versus Maoists

Last updated on: November 9, 2012 12:32 IST

Image: The poster with actor Amitabh Bachchan has been put up across Bihar's various Maoist-affected districts
M I Khan in Patna

Bollywood's Shahenshah Amitabh Bachchan is Bihar's police mascot in their battle against Maoists -- to lure youths to join the forces instead of the rebels. M I Khan reports

In their ongoing fight with Maoists, the Bihar police have found a new weapon -- superstar Amitabh Bachchan. The police have decided to use the 'angry young man' of Hindi cinema as a mascot to discourage poor and backward youths from rural areas from joining hands with the rebels and instead draw them towards the force.

The experiment was a huge success in Bihar's Maoist-affected Kaimur district where till date, more than 300 youths have enrolled in the police programme.


In Bihar, it's Big B versus Maoists

Image: Bachchan
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

The police have put up posters of Big B to encourage tribal and Dalit youths to join 'Adhaura 30', aimed at grooming them for jobs in the state police and central paramilitary forces.

"It is better to protect than to kill," read one poster with a picture of Bachchan on it. "Aap sapne dekhen, hum unhe saakar karenge (You see the dreams, we will fulfill them)," said another.

The poster seems to have worked in favour of the police in Kaimur and soon other districts are planning to emulate this initiative.

Tags: Adhaura , Bihar , Kaimur

In Bihar, it's Big B versus Maoists

Image: Policemen stand guard in the Gaya area of Bihar
Photographs: Krishna Murari Kishan/Reuters

"After Amitabh Bachchan's name was used in Kaimur to attract tribal youths and encourage them to shun Maoists, the police headquarters has decided to replicate it across the state," a senior police official from Patna said on Friday.

Impressed by the successful experiment in Kaimur, Bihar Director General of Police Abhyanand agreed to try out this strategy in other Maoists-affected districts including Gaya, Aurangabad, Sitamarhi, Jamui and Banka, a police official said.

An ADG rank police officer told that Amitabh Bachchan's name worked more than any thing in Kaimur to damage the plan of Maoists to recruit youths, especially tribals. "Now, the police will use posters of Amitabh Bachchan elsewhere to draw youths towards education and then recruit them in police and defence forces."

The credit of this programme goes to Kaimur Superintendent of Police Umashankar Sudhanshu. "For years, Maoists have been using the old modus operandi to lure youths belonging to poor families to join then in the fight for 'development'. The police have used the mass appeal of Amitabh Bachchan to attract youths to join the mainstream instead of Maoists. It proved successful," he said.

In Bihar, it's Big B versus Maoists

Image: Maoists often traget youths from poor families

Sudhansu said that poor youths were easy and soft target of Maoists, who induct them in their armed squads by promising money and a good life. "We have used Amitabh Bachchan to spread the message among youths that it is better to protect than kill; it is better to be in the police and defence forces than the Maoists armed squads."

Sudhansu said that big hoardings in Hindi with larger-than-life cutouts of Big B have sprouted all over the district's hilly terrain. "Its response was tremendous as hoardings sites have virtually turned into pilgrimages," he added.

"The idea behind using Bachchan's image came after seeing a promotional campaign of the popular game show Kaun Banega Crorepati, in which Big B had recited a poem about knowledge being supreme. The entire poem has been used on the poster with a Big B picture to motivate youths to join our programme," the SP said.

Kaimur district magistrate Jai Singh said the campaign has been such a success that it will be continued as part of the development activity for the region. "We are providing monetary help and supporting the drive in every way we can."

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