New Delhi, Feb. 22: According to a new policy proposed by the Centre, the reward that a Naxalite carries on his head will go to him if he surrenders.
This was decided today at a meeting among Union home minister P. Chidambaram and representatives from nine states, including Jharkhand, where a uniform surrender-rehabilitation policy and new standard operating procedures (SOPs) that will ensure human rights protection were discussed.
It was resolved that armed rebels will be richly rewarded — Rs 5 lakh compensation for a light machine gun (LMG), or Rs 3 lakh for an INSAS rifle — on surrender.
That will be only for the gun; the surrendered Naxalite will get separate compensation and also the reward if there is one on his or her name, a source told The Telegraph after the high-profile meeting at which Jharkhand was represented by chief minister Arjun Munda along with chief secretary S.K. Choudhary and DGP G.S. Rath.
Jharkhand offers compensation ranging from Rs 30,000 to Rs 12 lakh to surrendered rebels. Now, all states will have to follow the new plan whose nitty-gritty was yet to be worked out. But, there was consensus among all chief ministers that a uniform policy would help.
Chidambaram is also understood to have told the DGPs that the polices conduct should be scrupulously clean at all levels. To ensure this, there will be human rights protection cells at the range or district levels not only in state police, but also in paramilitary forces wherever they are deployed.
For Jharkhand, which drew flak for three recent Maoist ambushes, including the attack on MP Inder Singh Namdhari, the area of anti-Maoists operations would now shift to the western part of the state from Saranda in West Singhbhum. The focus has now shifted from Saranda to Latehar, Palamau and Garhwa. We need to step up anti-Maoist operations in these districts, said a police source.
The Centre also promised the state grappling with Maoist terror extra forces, including COBRA battalions, whenever needed.
Chief minister Munda told the meeting that the police strength in Jharkhand was being increased by 7,000 constables and 400 inspectors. Weve asked Chidambaramji to ensure that funds for roads under the integrated action plan are not delayed, the source said.
Later addressing a news conference, Munda said it was natural for the Union home ministry to be worried as Jharkhand was facing a critical situation. I am happy that the home minister called us to discuss the matter. Only talks can help us work out solutions. I have also received a letter from the Prime Minister, which says that a decision on NCTC will be taken after consultations with states.
Chief secretary Choudhary said development schemes in rebel zones were also reviewed. There was a lot of discussion on strategy that I cant disclose, he said.
Earlier in the day, Rath and Choudhary attended a meeting of DGPs and chief secretaries of left-wing extremism-affected states.