Karnataka

‘Three more persons have expressed willingness to join the mainstream’

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The process to bring those into arms struggle back into the mainstream will continue, Gauri Lankesh, journalist and civil society member of the State-level committee set up to oversee implementation of surrender/assimilation and rehabilitation policy for Left Wing Extremists, has said.

“Three more persons have approached the committee expressing their willingness to join the mainstream,” she told presspersons here on Monday.

Ms. Lankesh said the names of the three could not be disclosed as their approach was yet to be studied in detail. “We have to study how serious they are in their approach and the cases they are facing,” she said.

‘Process began last year’

Regarding the process, Ms. Lankesh said efforts to bring former naxalites into the mainstream began last year when the Congress government came to power. Both Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Home Minister K.J. George had repeatedly stated that they would welcome it if former naxalites joined the mainstream.

“We, members of the Shantigagi Nagarika Vedike, approached the State government to facilitate this and also appealed to naxalites to give up arms and join the mainstream. Both the State government and two former naxalites — Sirimane Nagaraj and Noor Zulfikar — responded positively to us. We are thankful to both the government and the two former naxalites,” she said.

The committee had recommended that the State government withdraw the case filed against Nagaraj in Sringeri police station. “It is a petty case. The State Cabinet can take a decision to withdraw it. Similarly, the committee has appealed to the State government to recommend the Centre to drop cases filed against Zulfikar. He is facing charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Arms Act. The Centre has to take a decision on that,” she said.

H.S. Doreswamy, freedom fighter and member of the committee, said as both Nagaraj and Zulfikar were facing cases, they had to go through the legal process.

“If they weren’t facing any charges, the district committee could have sent them home. As there are cases, they have to face the court and follow procedure,” he said. He also highlighted that both of them joined the mainstream without expecting any monetary benefits from the government. “They have said a firm no to monetary benefits that come as part of the package announced by the State government,” he said.

Deputy Commissioner B.S. Shekharappa, Superintendent of Police R. Chetan and other officers were present.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2020 4:14:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/three-more-persons-have-expressed-willingness-to-join-the-mainstream/article6673634.ece

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