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Amnesty scheme for Maoists

The West Bengal government on Wednesday issued a notification for the formal roll-out of the amnesty scheme for Maoists willing to surrender.

It would be applicable to Maoists who want to surrender, with or without arms, in the extremism-affected districts of Paschim Medinipur, Purulia and Bankura.

Director-General of Police Bhupinder Singh said: “The open-ended scheme is for a hard-core Maoist or any member of a squad. However, over-ground members or sympathisers may also be considered in exceptional cases.”

The notification comes a month after the government announced its decision to accept the guidelines framed by the Union Home Ministry for surrender and rehabilitation of Naxalites. The scheme will now be publicised in two languages — Santhali (Al Chiki) and Bengali — for it to reach the targeted audience.

This is the first such scheme since the Maoists marked their footprints in the State by blasting an Improvised Explosive Device on the convoy of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and a Central minister. The VIPs were returning after launching a steel project at Salboni in Paschim Medinipur.

The government is now sensing that Maoists seem to be losing popular support. “Developments like the recent peace procession taken out by thousands of tribal women at Binpur in Paschim Medinipur show that people want normality to return,” Mr. Singh said. The Centre has said the surrender-cum-rehabilitation scheme is aimed at weaning away the misguided youth and hardcore militants from the movement where they found themselves trapped.

Referring to the stipend of Rs.2,000 that will be given for three years to surrendered Maoists, together with vocational training and a grant of Rs.1.5 lakh in term deposit, Mr. Singh said: “It is not all ideology — unemployed youth are being turned into mercenaries, and they are being given monthly payments by the Maoists for lifting a gun.”

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 1:38:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/Amnesty-scheme-for-Maoists/article16213329.ece

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