Srinagar, In what can only be described as a rare experience for a group of farmers in Baramulla district here, the north Kashmir DIG of police visited their field on Sunday afternoon and joined them in paddy transplantation.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police Sujit Kumar Singh stopped his cavalcade, stepped out of his vehicle and walked to a farmer’s field in Sopore – the apple town of the valley which was till recently infested with militancy.
Dressed in civil clothes, the senior officer removed his sandals, rolled up his trousers to knee-height and set his feet in the cold, muddy waters of the paddy field after taking permission to participate in the process.
Pleasantly surprised, the farmer and his family warmly invited the officer to give it a shot. The rare moment was caught on a smartphone camera.
Singh, a resident of Bihar, took some rice saplings in his hands and began planting them but not before saying a prayer quietly.
The senior officer, who was accompanied by his family members, spent about 45 minutes in the fiel and interacted with the farmers, which included a few youngsters and women.
“When there is a holiday, sometimes, I go out in civvies to take on-ground review of the situation. So, while we were near Sopore with orchards on one side and paddy fields on the other, I noticed a field where two-three young people were working with some aged persons,” the DIG told PTI.
The officer said seeing the youngsters helping their families at a time when some of them are attracted to drugs and other wrong activities caught his attention.
“It felt good, so I went there and requested them to allow me to help them. They happily invited me and I interacted with them. The youngsters talked to me about their studies, careers, and even insecurities,” he said
Singh said he got a sense of the impact that the lockdown has had on the family especially the youth and it would help him have an enhanced understanding of the situation and in turn take better policing decisions.
“So, whenever I will have to make a policing decision about the area, the real understanding of the family and the area that I had through the interaction, will help me balance my decisions,”” he said.
His only grievance was that he was not able to break bread with the family.
“They had already taken their lunch, otherwise, I would have loved to eat with them. I was there for about 45 minutes, talked to them and till the time my back gave up, I helped them as well. But, I told them once the rice would be ready, I will surely eat with them,” he said.
The senior police officer said such interactions help get an understanding of the situation.
“Unless we take our offices out of the four-walls, change on the ground will not happen; gap in trust deficit will not get filled,” he said.
“Most of the people do not come to us. But, if we go out like this… to the people, to their fields, orchards, to vendors and talk to them, listen to them one or two days a week, it will help. It is like taking our offices to the people, to their fields,” he added.
“This is my approach and if people like it, then I am thankful to them,” he said. The DIG further said police wants to earn the trust of the people to make the situation better.
“We want trust of the people. The people are coming out of difficult times because of Covid lockdown. So, we have to seriously understand its impact on them, on their pockets, and assess the situation,” he said. PTI