Maoists are coming forward to surrender
Efforts to wean away Maoists from the path of violence seems to be making progress going by the response to the government's surrender packages announced in Jharkhand and West Bengal a month back.
Jharkhand has made a head-start with 10 rebels giving up arms since the state government announced the 'Operation Nai Disha' on July 31.
Though only two ultras have surrendered in West Bengal since the government's rehabilitation package was announced on July 28, the police top brass believe that more are in the offing.
"Apart from the two -- Shobhan Karak alias Bijoy and Sova Mandi alias Sikha -- who have surrendered, we expect some hardcore Maoists to follow their example in the next week," West Midnapore district Superintendent of Police Monoj Verma said.
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'Many extremists are in touch with the local police'
Bengal DGP Bhupinder Singh told PTI that local people have been increasingly turning away from Left-Wing extremists, especially at Binpur and Radhanagar in West Midnapore district.
Jharkhand's Zonal IG Rezi Dungdung also expressed the same optimism, saying, "Many more extremists are willing to surrender and are in touch with the local police."
Earlier this month two rebels had turned themselves in before Dungdung.
Verma said more Maoists would have surrendered but for the threat of physical harm to themselves and their families by the ultras. "They are scared and the Maoists are putting pressure on them not to give themselves up."
The SP said the authorities have, therefore, decided to keep those "willing" to surrender under observation for 36 months in the transit camp giving them adequate security while keeping a strict watch on them.
Police to run awareness drive among villagers
However, Monoj Mahato, a spokesman for the People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA), alleged the Joint Forces, helped by CPI-M supporters, were "torturing" innocent villagers into admitting that they were Maoists.
Asked about Sova Mandi's surrender, Mahato told PTI, "The police arrested her five months back and without producing her in a court of law enacted the drama of surrender. They have forced Sova to say the things she was quoted as having said in the press."
Dungdung is confident that more Maoists in Jharkhand would surrender lured by the opportunity to join the mainstream and pressured by the security forces' offensive particularly in Palamau, Bokaro and Ranchi.
Buoyed by the response, Jharkhand DGP Neyaz Ahmed has asked the police to run an awareness drive among villagers in the Maoist-affected areas to acquaint them with the package offers in local languages.
Luring them with cash
The police will also soon distribute pamphlets in local dialects.
Dungdung said the surrendered ultras had got a lump sum amount of Rs 50,000, besides the price of their weapons under the government's surrender policy.
An IPS officer in Ranchi said there was information that many ultras were willing to give up violence and specifically mentioned 20-odd ultras, close to dreaded Kundan Pahan, who might surrender soon.
Pahan is wanted in the killing of Special Branch officer Francis Induwar and several other Naxal-related cases. He had been shot and injured during an encounter soon after Induwar's beheading in October, last year, the police officer said.
There are at least six ultra outfits, besides the CPI (Maoist), operating in Jharkhand.
Governments are offering the Naxals more
While in Jharkhand an ultra on surrender will get Rs 2.5 lakh (Rs 50,000 immediately and the rest in two equal instalments) in three years, his counterpart in West Bengal would receive Rs 2,000 per month for a period of three years besides Rs 1.5 lakh in fixed deposit for as many years.
The surrendered ultras in West Bengal would also get vocational training in a trade of his choice.
In Jharkhand, a surrendered ultra would be given a plot and Rs 50,000 to construct a house, free healthcare for himself/herself and family in government health centres, free education till matriculation for himself/herself or children, grant to solemnise marriage of girl children or of woman ultra under the CM's 'Kanyadan Yozana'.
If the surrendered carries an award on his or her head, the same amount would be offered.
In Jharkhand if any surrendered returns weapons, he/she will get for instance Rs one lakh for a rocket launcher or a light machine gun, Rs 75,000 for Ak series, Rs 15,000 for .303 rifles/pistol/revolver and Rs 6000 for IED.
In West Bengal, the surrendered Maoists will get Rs 25,000 for a machine gun, Rs 15,000 for AK-47 and Rs 10,000 for a satellite phone.