RAIPUR: Scoring a century — on a tough cricket pitch or in the challenging stronghold of Maoists — the figure 100 might excite many but not this doctor-turned-IPS officer who has organised over a hundred medical camps for poor tribals in the strife-zone of Dantewada, south Chhattisgarh.
A 2013-batch IPS officer, Dr Abhishek Pallava continues to get some amount of professional gratification too, though he is known for leading a much greater cause against the outlawed CPI (Maoist) in remote inhospitable topography of south Bastar zone, where he completed his three years.
Dr Pallava, who did his MD from AIIMS Delhi in 2009, conducted a health check-up at Cholnar village in the Maoist-hotbed, one among the 100 free medical health camps for local villagers. What arouses greater interest is the fact that among those who visited his camps included the relatives, kith and kin of hardcore Maoists — who either are active waging a war against the state or languishing in jails.
While the Dantewada district police chief has reasons to persists with offering healing touch, he ensured “no let up in the anti-Maoist operation”.
“At Cholnar, the ailing wife and children of Maoist commander Sukhram who has at least 21 cases against him and is in jail, attended medical camp. A few years ago not even a single villager would turn up. Now tribal villagers are reposing faith in the police. Over 200 attended our programme,” Pallava affirmed.
Besides treatment, medicines the people are also given health advisory.
Earlier the villagers often fled when police reached them during the civic action programme for two apparent reasons: a fear of interrogation or seeking information about the suspected Red ultras and second, the Maoists may suspect the villagers attending such camps as supporter or informer of police.
“Winning the hearts and minds of the local population is crucial for their support in the virtual war zone where the tribals are caught between the Maoists and the forces. The people’s trust remains at the centre of gravity in the insurgency-hit areas”, the IPS officer added.
Besides securing the trust of tribals, at times the medical camps are also intended with some objective. For instance, Cholnar camp was held to inaugurate new road from Kirandul to Palnar that connects 15 villages and to commemorate 9 police personnel who were killed by the rebels during the road construction work.
Dr Pallava is never without medicines and injections during the anti-Maoist operations he leads and often uses them when he is touring the tribal hamlets.