Lured by government’s incentives and “disillusioned with the ultra-Left ideology”, 16 Maoists on Tuesday pledged to join the mainstream before joint forces of Bihar police and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) in Sheohar district, close to India-Nepal border.
Bihar’s cooperative minister Rana Randhir Singh, Tirhut zone inspector general (IG) Sunil Kumar, his counterpart in SSB’s Patna frontier Chanchal Shekhar and Sheohar superintendent of police (SP) PN Mishra were present when the Maoists vowed to give up the “outdated ultra-Left ideology” and shun violence at Sheohar town, 125 km north of Patna.
They, however, did not lay down any firearm before the joint forces during the event.
All the Maoists had been arrested earlier and are currently on bail.
The Maoists who “surrendered” are involved in a number of cases under the Arms Act, Explosives Act and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. These included loot of firearms from looting of firearms from Dekuli police picket in 2002 and killing of six policemen by triggering landmine blast at Shyampur Bhataha in Sheohar district in 2010.
Speaking on the occasion, one of the Maoists, Bullet Singh, said the state government’s surrender policy had motivated him to return to the mainstream. “We were tired of the hollow Maoist ideology and realised that nothing could be achieved by fighting from forests. There was no social life for us and we were not able to provide education to our children. So we decided to spend normal life in the society by surrendering before the police.”
He also appealed to those involved in Maoist violence to lay down arms for a better life.
Sunil Kumar, who heads the police force in the state’s Tirhut zone, comprising Muzaffarpur, East Champaran, West Champaran, Bagaha (a police district), Sitamarhi, Vaishali, Sheohar, Saran, Siwan and Gopalganj districts, said that the surrender by Maoists was a result of community policing and welfare schemes adopted by the police. “We motivated the Maoists to leave their tainted past behind and lead a normal life,” he said.
The IG of Sashastra Seema Bal, a border guarding force deployed to undertake anti- Naxal operations in Sheohar district, said the Maoists would be rehabilitated as per the policy of the state government. He also assured all legal help to them.
The Sheohar SP said the police would extend the community policing and other development schemes, being carried out under the security related expenditure programme, to other areas and motivate others to shun crime. Apart from Bullet Singh, the others who surrendered were Baidyanath Paswan, Ramchandra Sahni, Jialal Ram, Shivji Patel, Uma Shankar Sahni, Ashok Sahni, Ganesh Rai, Lalan Rai, Ram Pravesh Rai, Dhananjay Rai, Anil Baitha, Azazul Rahman, Ruplal Rai, Sanjay Patel and Indradeo Sahni , he said. “Jialal Ram, 50, a former mukhiya and an active member of the Maoist outfit, was wanted in more than eight cases of violence, including the Shyampur Bhataha blast and loot of fire arms. Umashanakar Sahni has six cases pending against him, while Ashok Sahni has only one,” said the SP.
Clearing doubts over legal procedures, the SP said, “We have not made any promise to condone cases pending against them. They are at present on bail and will have to face to legal proceedings.”
The Maoists who surrendered would receive Rs 1.5 lakh as immediate monetary incentive as per the government’s rehabilitation policy. “This amount will be deposited in their bank account within a week. As the Maoists are facing major criminal cases, they will be under probation for a period of two years. Their activities will be under surveillance during this period and they can utilise this money only after the probation period. Their dependents will, meanwhile, receive Rs 2,000 per month as sustenance allowance for three years,” the SP added.