Ranchi, April 5: The government today effected a strategy change to check extremism in the state by scrapping the surrender policy and deciding to reach out to rebels by holding “janata durbars” in Naxalite- affected areas.
With the surrender policy of the previous Marandi government failing to evoke a positive response, the Arjun Munda regime, instead of asking rebels to come to the government and lay down their arms, has decided to hold janata durbars twice a month to address the grievances of the extremists.
Chief secretary A.K. Mishra said the durbars would bridge the “communication gap” between the government and extremists.
“The durbars will speed up development work at the grassroots. If extremists have grievances, we will resolve them. They will, however, not be allowed to resort to violence and unlawful means to make their point,” he added.
The chief secretary will conduct the first durbar at Tamar in Ranchi on April 8. Mishra said Tamar was chosen for the durbar because of the April 1 clash there between the police and extremists in which a bus passenger was shot dead.
Marandi’s surrender policy offered monetary sops to rebels under a rehabilitation package, but it failed to evoke a positive response from Naxalites. The chief secretary, however, said the surrender policy “has not been totally scrapped”.
“Fruits of development have not reached people at the grassroots. Officials are unable to go to remote areas due to fear of extremists, who extort rangdari tax from the people. They are the biggest hurdles in the way of development. The aim of janata durbars is to take the government to the people’s doorsteps so that the benefit of welfare reaches the last man,” Mishra said.
“During the durbars, senior officials would review the progress of development work in the area and take decisions on the spot,” he added.
Asked if corruption was responsible for the influence of Naxalites, Mishra said: “If anyone has proof against officials involved in corruption, he should come to the durbar. We will act immediately.”
Mishra said if extremists attempt to create trouble at the darbars, the administration would retaliate.
“They will not be allowed to take the law in their hands. They cannot hold the state to ransom. If they do so, we are prepared to give them a befitting reply.”
Mishra said the government was committed to “wipe out” extremism from Jharkhand and for that it had formulated an “operational strategy” to counter any extremist offensive. But he did not divulge the details of the plan, saying it was necessary “to maintain secrecy”.
The chief secretary said information technology would be used to counter extremist attacks.
Mishra urged Naxalites sympathisers not to support anyone involved in “unlawful activities”. “Bullets do not differentiate between a hardcore extremist and one who supports him. Both are at fault as far as the law goes,” he said.