August 29, 2010

First Maoist surrender in West Bengal

MIDNAPORE, 26th August, 2010: Nearly a month after the announcement of a rehabilitation package for Maoist rebels who give up arms, the West Bengal government met with its first success when a Leftwing rebel surrendered in West Midnapore district Thursday.

Shobhan Karak alias Bijoy was the first rebel to lay down arms by responding to the rehabilitation package of the government.

Bijoy, a squad member that used to operate in Goaltore area of the district, surrendered with arms before the police at the district police line, said West Midnapore Police Superintendent Manoj Verma. Verma, who was present when Bijoy surrendered, said he was also an active member of a militant wing of the pro-Maoist body Peoples' Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA). Bijoy has been booked in at least 13 cases.

'We will make a fixed deposit of Rs.1.5 lakh in his name for three years and refer the case to the rehabilitation committee,' Verma said. Once the rehabilitation committee clears the case, the Maoist would get a monthly remuneration of Rs.2,000 for three years and vocational training of his choice, he said.

He also said many more Maoists were expected to surrender in the next few days.

Interestingly, West Midnapore police had earlier announced that a woman squad member Sobha Mandi has expressed her wish to give herself up to the authorities and would do so Thursday. But police officials now claim she will surrender after discussing the matter with her family members.

Meanwhile, the state government is yet to set up a barrack to rehabilitate the surrendered Maoists cadres, where they will also undergo vocational training during the rehabilitation period of three years.

A senior state home official said: 'The district magistrate of West Midnapore has been asked to identify a location to set up the rehabilitation centre after a meeting Wednesday between the home secretary and other home department officials.'

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