Though the state police and dacoits from distinct gangs shared an antagonistic partnership, the initiative to make the museum is surprisingly becoming taken by Bhind police only. (Credit: The Indian Express)

The state government of Madhya Pradesh has decided to make a museum that will have traces of some of the most dreaded dacoits like Phoolan Devi, Nirbhay Gujjar and other people that produced the Chambal area in the state notorious as a den of violence and dacoity. The museum, which is envisaged to be constructed in the Chambal river neighbouring Bhind district, will showcase the gun utilized by Phoolan Devi, a tape recorder that after belonged to Nirbhay Gujjar, ransom demands, chains utilized by the dacoits to tie their captives and a host of other traces that will remind of the dark occasions in the state, the Indian Express reported.

Though the state police and dacoits from distinct gangs shared an antagonistic partnership, the initiative to make the museum is surprisingly becoming taken by Bhind police only. Talking about the initiative, Bhind Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Singh told the Indian Express that the aim is not to glorify the dacoits but place their crimes in viewpoint and showcase the numerous sacrifices of brave police personnel who in the end pinned the dacoits down and ended their reign of violence and terror. The police chief of the district also mentioned that the museum will compile and showcase more than 2000 digitised police records and other supplies spanning more than the final 5 decades which has info about crimes like murder, loots and kidnapping committed by the bandits. So far, more than Rs 3 lakh has been collected for setting up the museum from more than 26 police stations that come beneath the jurisdiction of the district.

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The museum which will be housed at the district police headquarters in Lahar Chungi location will also honour about 28 policemen who sacrificed their lives fighting the dacoits. The museum will also have photographs of other police officials who went on to win the gallantry awards and earn more quickly promotions due to their exemplary brave actions against the dacoits.

Talking about quite a few films portraying the dacoits and bandits as “baaghis(rebels)”, Kumar mentioned that the museum’s aim is to show how the crimes committed by the dacoits hugely impacted the area and in particular its youth. Highlighting the reality that more than 98 % of the police records had kidnapping incidents, Kumar mentioned that the dacoits would seek about Rs 2-3 lakh in ransom forcing numerous farmers to sell off their land to save their lives.

However the narrative is not as simple as told by the state police with quite a few components involved in the producing of a dacoit. Dev Shrimali, a grassroot journalist who has covered the area for more than 5 decades told the Indian Express that lack of livelihood due to infertile land in the area, rigid caste set-up and other regional components compelled the locals to choose up arms. Holding the topography of the area also as partly accountable for the incidents, Shrimali mentioned that big scale soil erosion in the area effortlessly turned the land infertile pushing men and women into poverty.

While numerous quantity of dacoits have been slain in police encounters in the Chambal area spanning the border regions of the states Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and UP, quite a few towering dacoits also surrendered just before the police on the insistence of social activists and leaders like J P Narayan, Vinoba Bhave amongst other people.

Some of the most ferocious and bigger than life bandits like Malkhan Singh and Phoolan Devi surrendered just before the police in the year 1980s breaking the backbone of the dacoity in the area. Malkhan Singh, a former dacoit when apprised of the museum initiative becoming taken by the police told the Indian Express that the police kept tarnishing the bandits and rebels according to its option. Singh additional asked if police had any answers to what forced numerous men and women to choose up arms and develop into rebels. Singh additional mentioned that the successive governments also failed to honour the promises of rehabilitation produced to the dacoits in return of their surrender.

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