Saturday, December 15, 2007
Yashwant Jethwa with Kalam
16 Dec 2007, 0000 hrs IST,Parth Shastri,TNN
AHMEDABAD: He is an IPS officer posted in the Naxal-ridden Sundergarh district of Orissa. Yashwant Jethwa is a rare breed of Gurjaratis who studied in a gurukul, took the UPSC exams and cleared the IPS and joined the Orissa cadre and has reformed Naxals.
Jethwa, 45, was felicitated at the centenary celebrations of the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminaryanan (BAPS) by Pramukh Swami Maharaj. He told TOI, "I was baffled when I was initially posted in Sundargarh district of Orissa in the beginning of my career as this western-most district adjoining Madhya Pradesh border was a hotbed for Naxal activities. But now I am happy having converted some hardcore Naxal youths and bringing them into the mainstream."
Jethwa, the son of satsangi parents from a Gujarati family in Mumbai, had done his schooling in a BAPS Gurukul till Class XII. After that, he decided to join the police force and started preparing for the UPSC. He passed the examination with high grades in 1994.
Jethwa attributes a part of his success to his upbringing and environment in childhood. "You need that extra bit in you to clear the examination which I got from the group activities and constant exposure in BAPS functions - be it presentations, elocution, essay competition - it prepared me the future," he says.
The most interesting bit of his experience was as S P of Sundargarh district. "It was a Naxal-infested area when I took charge. There was a fear visible in the villagers. I gradually started involving the youth in group activities. Sundargarh is home of Dilip Tirkey, India's Olympic hockey team captain and Subhadra Pradhan, active women hockey player. I started promoting the game in a big way. I also indulged them in group activities like street plays, various competitions and group singing and dancing activities," he says.
Due to the popularity of such events, some of the Naxal youth also came out of curiosity and joined them. They enjoyed the activities and started relating to societal problems and tried to find the solution. "In such times, I used to approach them and try to understand their psyche". He says, "Of them a 16-year old Naxal girl who later became one of Jethwa's best informers also converted and later married a tribal youth and has left her past behind. There are several such cases in the district and I am happy I worked as a mediator between the youth and the almighty". He claims to have converted over 50 youth from Naxal camps.
Jethwa is currently serving as S P of Balasore district. He came down to Ahmedabad specially to participate in youth day on Thursday