HYDERABAD – The Andhra Pradesh Police Department, as part of its strategy to stamp out ultra left extremism, has proposed a substantial increase in the cash rewards on the heads of Maoists.
The proposed bounty on Naxalites’ heads ranges from Rs100,000 to Rs2.5 million and the state government is likely to accept the proposal.
According to police sources, the highest reward of Rs2.5 milllion has been proposed for the capture or surrender of high-ranking Central Committee members of CPI (Maoist) like Ganapati alias Muppala Lakshman Rao and Mallojula Venugopal.
“If a Maoist surrenders, the reward money will be given to him. If he is killed in an encounter, it will be shared between the informant and the policemen involved in the exchange of fire,” the sources said, adding that these rewards are in addition to what the Central government has announced for the capture or surrender of Maoist leaders.
The bounty on the heads of Central Committee members would go up from the present Rs1.2 million to Rs2.5 million while State Committee members will carry a reward of Rs1.5 million each as against Rs1 million now.
Similarly, the rewards have been hiked for Regional Committee members from Rs800,000 to Rs1 million, District Committee Secretaries from Rs500,000 to Rs800,000, District Committee members from Rs300,000 to Rs500,000, commanders of a guerilla squad from Rs200,000 to Rs300,000, deputy commandants from Rs100,000 to Rs200,000 and squad members from Rs20,000 to Rs100,000.
The Centre had recently revised the rates for surrender of weapons, offering Rs500,000 to anyone laying down a light machine gun (LMG), and Rs300,000 to those depositing an AK-47 assault rifle.
According to official figures, there are about 335 underground Maoist leaders from AP operating within or outside the state. This is the lowest figure in the three decade-old history of the extremist movement.
The policy of fixing rewards had drawn flak from the civil rights groups in the past who alleged that it amounted to encouraging police to indulge in fake encounters and eliminate large number of Naxalites and their sympathisers for the sake of money.
“It is a shame on the part of the government to fix cash rewards on the heads of leaders of revolutionary movements,” said Maoist sympathiser and poet Varavara Rao.