States want to lure Naxals with cash

NEW DELHI: Maoist-hit states on Wednesday pitched for a more lucrative surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy for naxalites, suggesting that the government can think of increasing monetary incentive to the tune of Rs five lakh to anyone laying down a Light Machine Gun or sniper rifle and Rs three lakh to those surrendering an AK-47 rifle.

The issue was discussed and suggestions came at a meeting of chief secretaries and directors general of police of Maoist-affected states, chaired by Union home minister P Chidambaram, here on Wednesday. State officials argued that the enhanced package will motivate more armed cadres of ultras to opt for surrender.

Now, different state governments follow different surrender policies and surrender packages that include financial incentives varying from Rs one lakh to Rs five lakh for each arm surrendered, depending on its make. The weapons being carried by ultras are mainly those looted by them during their attacks on many police stations or patrolling police parties in the past.

The guidelines announced by the home ministry last year, however, offers incentive of Rs 15,000 for each deposited AK 47/56/74 rifle, Rs 25,000 for each Rocket Propelled Grenade/sniper rifle and Rs 3,000 for each pistol or revolver.

“There is a need to review the existing surrender policy with bigger financial incentives. States have been asked to enhance the money while Centre will also provide funds. We want uniformity of the surrender policy for all states,” an official said.

The meeting also directed the states and paramilitary forces to take all possible steps to ensure protection of human rights of every individual, while carrying out anti-Maoist operations and countering negative propaganda of the naxals.

The home ministry also asked the states to conduct a thorough probe into allegations of abuse of power by security forces and follow standard operating procedure while dealing with naxals. The states and the Centre are also firming up their policy to counter the negative propaganda of the naxals as they have been trying to garner support among the middle class by raising the issue of human rights.

The meeting also took stock of the anti-naxal operations as well as the development programmes being initiated in the Maoist-hit areas. There were concerns in the Central government that many states have not been able to complete many of the centrally sponsored schemes, especially road projects, despite provision of required funds by the home ministry.

The home ministry also indicated that it was keen on extending the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) being implemented in 78 worst Naxal-affected districts beyond 2012-13. Chief secretaries and DGPs or their representatives of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh attended the meeting.
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