A large section of Maoists leadership in Jharkhand is waiting for an opportune moment to lay down arms before Prime Minister Narendra Modi, highly placed sources in the Jharkhand intelligence told HT.
The Intelligence Bureau, India’s internal intelligence agency considered by some to be the world’s oldest, has not only managed to successfully penetrate the Maoists fold but have also convinced at least 13 of them to join the mainstream.
These rebels had initially planned to surrender on October 2 on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti at Khunti where Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated India’s first solar powered court, but ‘conditions suddenly went unfavorable then’ and the plan had to be dropped.
The IB, sources said, is constantly updating Home Minister Rajnath Singh about their parleys with the Maoists willing to surrender. The Maoists on the other hand are weighing the benefits of the surrender policy and state’s seriousness in relaxing the cases against them should they surrender.
“Maoists from the rank of zonal commander to a member of the special area committee—a rank senior than zonal commander—have contacted the police through messengers expressing interest to lay down arms,” state police spokesperson, S N Pradhan had said during a recent press conference, refusing to divulge further details.
The revised Jharkhand surrender policy offers Rs 25 lakh if Maoist politburo/central committee members surrender and Rs 15 lakh for regional committee members. For Maoist zonal committee members it is Rs 10 lakh. And sub-zonal committee members will get Rs 5 lakh. A Maoist cadre will get Rs 2.5 lakh and undergo skill development training and a monthly stipend of Rs 5000.
There is no mention of cases being relaxed for surrendered Maoists. The Maoists through their emissaries are negotiating on this with the state as their colleagues who had surrendered in the past had bitter experiences.
The government has recently applied before different locals courts across the state to withdraw cases registered against the hardcore Maoists.
Since 2010, 79 Maoists have surrendered in Jharkhand.
Intelligence sources said that the likely exodus is primarily due to clash of interest between the Yadavas (a backward caste) and the tribal/SC leaders in the outlaw group. The Yadava Maoist leaders also went on to the defensive after alleged police supported vigilante groups like TPC and JJMP launched a tirade against them by carrying out identified killings.
Sources said of the 13 who have shown a willingness to surrender, 12 are Yadavas, who occupied top ranks. Over the last 10 years, 467 left wing extremists (LWE) have been killed in Jharkhand while 1150 were arrested. Yadava leaders accounted for the maximum casualties.
“It would be inappropriate to mention that there is a caste war in the Maoists fold but the commitment level of some leaders have certainly gone down and hence they are turning renegades,” PUCL Jharkhand state general secretary, Shashi Bhushan Pathak said.
HT has access of a Maoists press note that reveals that one of their leaders Dinesh Yadav alias Umesh alias Vikas has joined hands with police and has hence begun wooing others to surrender. In neighbouring Chhatisgarh, Maoists through a press note conceded that they have lost over 70 top notch leaders this year.