In what amounts to a rap on the knuckles of the Chhattisgarh government, the Home Ministry has asked it to ensure that only genuine Maoist cadre surrender before the police, and to avoid spiking the numbers through surrender of ‘fake Maoists.’ This was conveyed to Chief Minister Raman Singh, who met Home Minister Rajnath Singh earlier this month.
As per the Home Ministry’s data, in the 10 Left-Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected States taken together, a total of 1,442 Maoists surrendered in 2016. Of these, 1,167 surrenders were from Chhattisgarh alone. The total number of surrenders there in 2015 had been 323.
A screening committee found that more than 90% of the people who had surrendered did not conform to the definition of “Maoist cadre.”
“As many applications were rejected, there was resentment in people who were assured monetary and other rehabilitation benefits. This can lead to another wave of discontent that could be tapped by Maoists,” said a senior government official. Till October 31 this year, 584 surrenders have taken place overall, as compared to 1,373 during the same period in 2016.
The LWE-affected States and the Home Ministry have framed policies for surrender and rehabilitation of Maoists who want to join the mainstream. A screening-cum-rehabilitation committee, comprising officials of the State government and central armed police force officials, examines the cases before enrolling them for the rehabilitation scheme.
“During an assessment, it was found that most people who had surrendered were not active Maoist cadres. They had no cases registered against them or were not involved in any encounter,” said the official.
Most of the surrenders in 2016 had taken place in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region, which was under the operational control of the controversial IGP S.R.P. Kalluri.