The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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SSB boss for ‘softer’ stand
- Maoists must not be treated as terrorists, says Sayana

Ranidanga (Indo-Nepal border), Nov. 9: The Centre should take a softer stand towards Maoists and try bringing them back into the political mainstream.

The observation by the deputy inspector-general of the SSB’s 22nd Battalion, G.S. Sayana, comes at a time when the decade-old Nepalese Maoist armed insurgency has agreed to separate its combatants from their weapons, put them under international supervision and join a multi-party government.

“Our government should follow the recent developments in Nepal and come to an understanding with the Maoists in India by addressing some of their grievances,” said Sayana, who will take over as the director of the SSB Academy at Srinagar, Uttaranchal. The SSB boss was addressing reporters here, some 15 km from Siliguri, today.

He added that Maoists should not be treated as terrorists. They are basically followers of an ideology, which is not liked by the government.

Asked if the recent political developments in the Himalayan Kingdom have come as a relief to the border guards, Sayana said until the problems related to the Indian Maoists are resolved, his men would always have to face challenges. He said the Maoists here would continue to consider Nepal as their hideout by making use of the open border.

The border force chief also announced the Maitri Evam Suraksha (peace and security) Rally today. To be conducted by the SSB Ranidanga, the bicycle rally, in which 20 jawans will participate, will be flagged off from Nathu-la in Sikkim on November 14. It will end at Tanakpur at Uttaranchal on December 25 (after 42 days). The jawans — 14 from Lucknow and Patna frontier and the rest from Guwahati — will cover 1,600 km on wheels, Sayana said.

The SSB chief said the objective of the rally is to communicate to the people the consequences of infiltration. “Infiltrators often get help from local people. Therefore, people’s support is a must for ensuring border security. So, we have planned this rally in a bid to showcase the SSB’s role in protecting the people along the open India-Nepal border.”

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