Thursday, April 3, 2008

State to revise surrender policy for Naxalites

Of the 267 surrendered Naxalites, only 50 have been successfully rehabilitated

MUMBAI: The state government may soon change the Naxalite surrender policy framed in August 2005.

Several officers in the police top brass feel the policy has fundamental shortcomings. The rehabilitation money remained earmarked mostly on paper and it was rarely allocated, according to a police source. “The existing policy cannot be effective unless it addresses the rehabilitation issue per se and in all its nuances,” director general of police AN Roy said on Monday.

State chief secretary Johnny Joseph is likely to convene a meeting of senior officials to find better ways to rehabilitate Naxalites who have surrendered. Repeated phone calls to Joseph went unanswered and he did not reply to an SMS too. Additional chief secretary (home) Chitkala Zutsi refused to comment on the matter.

The police source said that the scheme had sketchy details about ways of distributing money. And now that the government was looking into the matter things could improve, he said. Naxalites are active in Gadchiroli, Gondia, Amravati, Chandrapur, and in bordering areas of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. Statistics available with DNA show that out of the 267 Naxalites who have surrendered since the launch of the scheme, 50 have been successfully rehabilitated.

“The security of a surrendered Naxalite is put at stake because the process of rehabilitation is slow. A successful plan should meet all the security needs and instil in him or her a sense of being a part of the society,” said additional director general of police and head of the state anti-Naxalite wing Pankaj Gupta.

The state government has recently sanctioned Rs2 crore under the Naxalite surrender policy. “But money is not the problem. Funds were always there but never diverted with discretion or accompanied with adequate government intervention,” said a senior police officer.

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