Govt lures Maoists to surrender by offering substantial cash

More than 600 people have been killed in Naxal violence in last three years across the country.

New Delhi: In an effort to encourage Maoists to lay down arms, the Centre has substantially hiked the money given to a surrendered cadre and also for weapons deposited.

The decision has been taken after the government failed to bring the Maoists to the negotiating table with the offer of talks and abjuring violence.

While an immediate grant of Rs 2.5 lakh will be given to senior Maoist leaders like politburo and central committee members, middle-level functionaries like area or sub-zonal commanders will get Rs 1.5 lakh for surrender.

The money will be deposited in a bank account and can be withdrawn by the surrendered Naxal after completion of three years.

Those eligible for the new surrender and rehabilitation policy will be put in a rehabilitation camp and given training on jobs oriented courses. A monthly stipend of Rs 4,000 will also given to the surrendered Maoists for three years.

Under the erstwhile surrender and rehabilitation policies, Rs 1.5 lakh was given to each surrendered Naxal and a monthly stipend ranging from Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,500.

Under the new policy, a Maoist surrendering with weapons will get an additional incentive of up to Rs 35,000 depending upon the weapon.

The highest Rs 35,000 will be given upon depositing a light machine gun (LMG) or sniper rifle while an AK-47/56 will fetch Rs 25,000, and Rs 10,000 for a pistol or revolver. While circulating the new surrender and rehabilitation policy, the Home Ministry has also asked states to consider providing free legal aid or the services of an advocate to surrendered Naxal cadre to help them with court trials.

"Trial of heinous crimes committed by the surrendered Naxal may continue in the courts. The states may also consider withdrawal of prosecution on a case-to-case basis depending upon the antecedents and merits of the individual surrendered person. For minor offences, plea bargaining could be allowed at the discretion of state authorities," the guidelines say.

The Centre also suggested setting up of fast track courts by states for speedy trials against the surrendered Naxals.

The benefits will, however, not be applicable to militants surrendering in Jammu and Kashmir or Northeast insurgents.

Even though there is a broad agreement in the Home Ministry that the incentive for weapons surrendered by militants and insurgents in different parts of the country should be uniform, a formal decision is yet to be taken, an official said.

More than 600 people have been killed in Naxal violence in last three years across the country. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had termed the menace as India`s biggest internal security threat.

In the last three years, Naxal violence has been reported in areas falling under 270 police stations in 64 districts of which 26 have been identified as worst-hit.