Home Minister K.J. George said Maoists have shown interest in the rehabilitation package of the State government and are keen on surrendering and joining the mainstream. Some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have taken up their cause and are consulting with the government.

Talking to presspersons here on Wednesday, Mr. George said: “They are not speaking directly, but through NGOs. I cannot reveal details as discussions are in the preliminary stage.” Mr. George was not willing to name the Maoists who are in favour of rehabilitation.

Mr. George said NGOs were also helping the State government in rehabilitation of families living in the reserve forests. As per the changes brought in the Forest Act, dwellers in the reserve forests can now be rehabilitated to the forest fringes. “We are not forcing anybody. Rehabilitation will be done only if they agree.”

Allegations

When it was pointed out that NGOs were facing allegations of receiving foreign funds for rehabilitation, Mr. George said, “I have not heard of any such allegation. Even the ANF Commander (Seemanth Kumar Singh) has not heard of it.” Mr. George said State police had three meetings with officers from Tamil Nadu and Kerala police in tackling Maoist activity in Wayanad near the tri-junction. Additional Director-General of Police T. Suneel Kumar said Inspector-General of Police (Southern Range) has been designated as the nodal officer of the State police to coordinate with Kerala and Tamil Nadu police. Anti Naxal Squads and Anti Naxal Force personnel from the State were involved in combing operations, he added.

Mr. George said the process of recruiting 8,500 personnel has begun with the issuance of notification for reservation for people from the Hyderabad Karnataka region. Twenty per cent of total posts will be reserved for women. The government has decided to relax physical standards for those coming from tribal areas for whom 7.5 per cent of the posts are reserved. Government has given permission for police to make use of 7,000 home guards in police duties across the State, he said.

On creation of bomb disposal squads in each of the police ranges, Inspector-General of Police (Western Range) Pratap Reddy said the squads have undergone training. At present, the bomb disposal squad is present in Bangalore, he added.