Lucrative surrender policy for Maoists

The nine Maoist-affected states in the country on Friday approved a revised surrender policy prepared by the Home Ministry to encourage rebels quit violence and join the mainstream. The draft proposal will now be considered by the Finance Ministry before being implemented.

Following a meeting at the North Block here on Friday, sources said compensation for the Maoist cadres had been increased to Rs 1.5 lakh. Besides, they will be paid extra for surrendering arms, depending on the type of weapon. Weapons like 12 bore guns and Kalashnikovs will fetch more. Besides, they will get a monthly stipend of Rs 2,000 for the first three years after the surrender.

Earlier, the compensation was a meagre Rs 10,000 for the Maoists who joined the mainstream and Rs 20,000 for those surrendering with arms. An estimated 300 Maoists surrender every  year.

The meeting, chaired by Special Secretary, Internal Security, Ajay Chadha, and attended by representatives of para-military forces and state police critically assessed the standard operating procedure for conducting operations in the red zone.

The new set of guidelines was proposed after the controversial operation in Chhattisgarh where security forces allegedly killed unarmed villagers. Even Union Tribal Minister Kishore Chandra Deo went on record that out of 19 suspected Maoists killed, 17 were innocent tribals.

Sources present in the meeting said the forces had now been instructed to stop firing at the slightest hint of civilians being used by the rebels as human shields. However, the operations would continue.

A senior officer clarified that “the jawans are not being advised to stop pulling the trigger during action, but only to take care to avoid collateral damage.”

Besides, the states have been suggested to enhance infrastructure, like capacity building of police stations and opt for extensive mapping of the areas since many villages are not mentioned in the official records, thus confusing the security personnel while planning strategies for mountain operations.

The forces were also advised to be thorough with their homework before launching an operation, like cross-checking intelligence inputs, and avoiding a route passing through villages.

The para-military forces, including the CRPF, BSF and ITBP, have agreed to alter their training modules to sensitise new recruits as well as old hands, on the new strategy.

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