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Inviting Reds to surrender

india Updated: Oct 16, 2009 23:37 IST

As the central government plan to deploy paramilitary soldiers against Naxal strongholds gains momentum, state governments are announcing surrender policies to spur the rebels to give up arms.

Fresh incentives for the rebels who surrender could open up ways of dealing with the 42-year-old Naxalite insurgency, described by the Prime Minister as India’s biggest internal security crisis.

The Bihar government has decided to revise its surrender and rehabilitation policy for Naxalites following a lukewarm response from the rebels.

During the last three years only 64 Naxals have surrendered in Bihar.

Nearly 30 out of 38 districts in Bihar are affected by Naxal violence.

The surrender policy “would be made better attuned to needs and open to new ideas,” Bihar Director General of Police Anand Shankar said on Thursday.

“It would incorporate some facilities to those who eschew violence and would be introduced soon.”

Possible changes could include raising the maximum one-time financial assistance at point of surrender from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh and increasing the payment for surrendered weapons from Rs 25,000 to Rs 3 lakh.

Police sources said the new surrender policy would be revised on the pattern of Jharkhand (see box), which is more generous on some counts than Bihar.

But Jharkhand has seen limited success. Only 18 rebels surrendered between 2006 and February 2009. Not a single rebel has surrendered since the new policy was announced in February this year.

The central government provides money for surrender policies as part of its Security Related Expenditure scheme for states affected by insurgencies. In most cases state governments offer incentives over and above the grants assured by New Delhi.

With inputs from Ramashankar in Patna