Ch`garh Maoists surrender but rarely with weapons

Last Updated: Monday, October 11, 2010 - 11:30

Raipur: In the last six years, not a single Maoist in Chhattisgarh has surrendered with a light machine gun (LMG) or an AK-47 assault rifle, though over 2,600 rebels have given up violence during the period, say police.

Police estimate that about 10,000 Maoists armed with LMGs and AK-47 rifles are active in the state. With the thrust on bringing back Maoists into the mainstream of society, the state government`s surrender policy assures a payment of Rs 300,000 to a rebel if he or she surrenders with an LMG or Rs 200,000 in case of an AK-47 rifle.

Official figures provided by police headquarters say 2,619 Maoists have surrendered till date in the state, but just six of them with weapons such as 12 bore guns.

Police officials posted in the restive 40,000 sq km Bastar region, where the rebels` hideouts in forests are ringed by landmines, said the "government lacked a long-term plan and strategy to win over hardcore Maoists armed with LMGs and AK-47s".

"The Maoists who carry LMGs and AK-47s are the fighters who have been recruited into the outfit first in bal sangham, a unit of the Communist Party of India-Maoist for minors aged around 8 and 10 years," said an official posted in Dantewada district requesting anonymity.

"Most of them were forcibly picked up from villages and schools and were brainwashed to follow the Maoist ideology. The government can`t persuade them to shun the Maoist ideology till it reaches them and holds meetings with a clear cut commitment to rehabilitate them and their families."

An Additional Superintendent of Police posted in the Bastar region said: "As of now, no police officer is even dreaming of getting LMG and AK-47 armed Maoists to surrender. Police have failed to infiltrate their men into the rebel ranks since late 1980s when the leftist insurgency started."

India`s worst Maoist violence-hit state that has witnessed over 2,100 deaths in rebel violence since it came into existence in November 2000, Chhattisgarh unveiled its "dream policy" for facilitating the rebels` surrender in October 2004.

Chhattisgarh Director General of Police (DGP) Vishwa Ranjan admitted that police have not achieved much success in persuading armed Maoists to surrender.

"We can`t get success in getting senior Maoist cadres surrendered till we raise the level of forces in Maoist-dominated areas and create a situation for Maoists in their pockets that they (feel they) are vulnerable to be apprehended and killed if they don`t surrender," the top policeman said.

Police data said 13 Maoists, including an armed rebel, and 1,378 sangham (village-level cadre) members surrendered in 2005.

In 2006, five Maoists including two armed rebels, and 1,032 sangham members surrendered. In 2007, 90 Maoists, including one armed rebel, and 77 sangham members gave up violence.

In 2008, five Maoists, including two armed rebels, and one sangham member joined the mainstream.

In 2009, two Maoists and 13 sangham members surrendered while in 2010 just three Maoists have surrendered till date.

IANS



First Published: Monday, October 11, 2010 - 11:30

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