‘Gadchiroli Files’ brings comic relief to backward district

Police reach out with a comic strip series on change in Maharashtra’s Naxal-hit area

Gadchiroli Files, a comic strip series, is set to present the new, changing and pro-development face of Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district. On the border with Telangana in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, Naxal-hit Gadchiroli is one of the most backward areas in India.

“We always wanted to send out a clean and clear message to the world outside that Gadchiroli is not only about Naxals and their activities. Yes, that is one of the problems, but we are overcoming it. People need to know about Gadchiroli. We thought of using the comic strip series to send out a positive message to the people within Gadchiroli, and also those outside,” said Ankit Goyal, Superintendent of Police, Gadchiroli.

The cartoons will focus on different issues faced by students, youth, women, farmers, etc., and try to place the state’s response to them, addressing all stakeholders.

The District Police Department has planned a new comic strip every fortnight to be released in the Gondi, Marathi and English languages. The first comic in the series was released last week. A local artist will design the comic strip and the District Police will help popularise it. “We have been trying traditional modes of delivering messages to the people. We thought of doing something different and innovative, other than a press note,” Mr. Goyal told The Hindu.

The police have also initiated a “police dadalora khidki” (‘a window of brother police’ in Gondi), a single window service at police posts to help villagers enrol is state-sponsored schemes, obtain important documents, and enable follow-ups on applications with the concerned departments.

Like the famous common man of the late cartoonist R. K. Laxman, a peeping farmer will be the silent spectator to the happenings in the comic strip. “He will represent the people of Gadchiroli, who know what is happening and keep themselves updated,” Mr. Goyal said.

Gadchiroli was in the news after 26 members of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist), including its central committee member Milind Teltumbde, were gunned down in an encounter with the police. In 2021, 49 alleged Naxals were killed in 15 “encounters” in the district.

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