Centre hikes cash award for surrendered Maoists by 15 times

NEW DELHI: As part of its reward and punishment tactics in containing Maoist insurgents, the Centre sharply hiked its contribution to the cash award for those who surrender with such Red ultras now likely to receive between Rs 3 to 5 lakh for coming over ground.

In a bid to nudge states into following suit, the Centre increased its share of the financial contribution for cash awards by 15 times from the existing Rs 10,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh as one-time grant for Naxalites surrendering without arms and by 7.5 times — from Rs 20,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh — for ultras with weapons.

“The aim of the surrender policy is to wean youth as well as hardcore Naxalites who have strayed into the Naxal movement and now find themselves trapped,” said an official. Increased financial assistance would help ensure that these Naxalites do not find it attractive to rejoin the movement.

Incentive tied to weapon

Maoists who surrender with ‘arms’ may even be able to get more by way of one-time financial assistance, depending on the kind of weapons handed over to the security forces.

This means a Maoist can receive monetary incentive of Rs 5 lakh if he or she surrenders with a light machine gun (LMG) or sniper rifle and Rs 3 lakh if the weapon is an AK-47 rifle. This is irrespective of whether Maoists come over ground with ‘looted’ police weapons or those procured from elsewhere.

Besides the one-time grant, the Centre will continue with its policy of giving a monthly stipend of Rs 2,000 for such surrendered Maoists for 36 months.

The home ministry shared details of its decisions with states during a meeting on Friday chaired by Ajay Chadha, special secretary, internal security. The meeting discussed ‘ways and means’ to continue anti-Naxal operations with enhanced precautions in situations where Maoists use villagers, including women and children, as ‘human shields’ during an encounter with security forces. This is pertinent keeping in view the allegations leveled by human rights activists after the recent Chhattisgarh encounters.

Although all Maoist-affected states give incentives to Maoists who surrender, the Centre’s move to increase its share will help cash-strapped states to pursue the surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy more vigorously.

At present, different states offer varying ‘financial packages’ to Maoists who surrender. The central move to increase its share will also help states in devising a uniform incentive policy for Maoists who want to surrender with or without arms.

Guidelines announced by the home ministry last year offered an additional incentive of Rs 15,000 for each AK-47/56/74 rifle, Rs 25,000 for rocket propelled grenade/sniper rifle, Rs 5,000 for a frequency communication set and Rs 3,000 for a pistol or revolver.

“There was a need to review the existing surrender policy with bigger financial incentives. Since states had been asked to enhance the incentives, it was essential for Centre to offer the money as its share,” said an official.

An immediate grant of Rs 1.5 lakh for a Maoist is placed in a bank as a fixed deposit which may be withdrawn after completion of three years, subject to good behaviour as certified by authorities.

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