Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Wooing Maoists : Cops play mindgame

Wooing Maoists : Cops play mindgame

Monday May 7 2007 05:39 IST

MALKANGIRI/BHUBANESWAR: Cautiously avoiding the single-laid path of confrontation, police and administration seem to have switched to playing mindgames to checkmate the Maoists in the trouble-torn Malkangiri district.

They have begun applying different ploys to coax Maoists, particularly tribal ‘converts’, to surrender and join the mainstream with the promise of a peaceful and comfortable life.

With a decade-old history of bloody confrontations, the administration has pinned great hope that this new strategy will work.

Under the new strategy, the police have started a poster campaign across the district. Hundreds of posters have been put up at vantage points in the town. Two giant hoardings erected at the DNK Junction by the district police are now the centre of attraction. And all talk about the benefits one would get if he shunned the violent path of Naxals and came to the mainstream.

While one hoarding reflects the State Government’s package for surrendered Naxalites, the other shows how the Naxalites are indulging in massacre, killing innocent people to spread terror.

The first one says if any of the Maoists opts to join the mainstream, he or she will be given Rs 10,000 as preliminary financial assistance followed by 4 decimal land for construction of house, Rs 25,000 bank loan assistance, Rs 15,000 for marriage and Rs 2 lakh for self-employment and financial rehabilitation.

If any of the Maoists surrenders with arms and ammunition, he or she will be given Rs 20,000 as financial assistance immediately, the hoarding reads. It further says that the Maoist will be paid Rs 15,000 if he surrenders with a rocket launcher, Rs 10,000 for AK-47/AK- 57/INSAS/SLR, Rs 5,000 for .303 rifle/pistol/revolver and Rs 5,000 for wireless set.

Reiterating its commitment to give protection to the surrendered ultras at all costs, the hoardings appeal to the common people to join the people’s awareness campaign to resist the Naxal violence.

The police have called upon the people to realise how the Naxals indulged in mindless killings and massacres to further their own selfish interests and not for the welfare of the downtrodden. The Naxals were the ‘people’s enemy,’ the hoardings read.

Outgoing SP Himansu Lall, during whose period the campaign took shape, is hopeful about its success.

“It is a two-pronged motivational strategy - to win support of the locals and bring the floating population back from the Naxal fold. Since Naxalism borders on ideology, it has to be tackled at the same level,” he said.

The response has been encouraging. The administration is getting frequent queries on the contact numbers provided by it. But the interesting part is Naxals appear on the backfoot and the recent spree of attacks are to claim that they are unfazed.

“The fight on ground will continue but what we want to instil is a sense of fear among the extremists that they will lose the support of tribals which keeps them going,” Lall said.


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