Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Govt’s surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy

Staff Reporter

The State government’s Rehabilitation Policy of 2016 is quite elaborate regarding surrender and rehabilitation of “militants/insurgents” to make it more attractive for a person who wished to join the mainstream. However, it was not known whether the state government has officially implemented the policy or kept it in cold storage.
Though the policy focuses on encouraging militants to surrender with standard pattern weapons, there was nothing to debar a cadre who did not hold a weapon from surrendering to authorities.
The policy applied only to “UGs/militant/insurgent cadres surrendering with arms”, though it did not preclude surrender without weapons of active UG cadres. While surrender without weapons is permissible and welcome, the rehabilitation package would not apply to them.
However, in exceptional cases, the State government in consultation with the Centre and security forces would decide on the rehabilitation package of cadres surrendering without weapons on a case-to-case basis. Further, the policy would be applicable only to militants who were Indian nationals, while surrendering foreign militants or cadres would not be eligible. These cases would be treated as per relevant laws. All surrendering cadres/militants/insurgents or civilians would have to undergo a detailed interrogation and questioning about their activities and antecedents before a surrender was formally accepted. Government agencies would conduct separate and joint interrogations/questioning of the “surrenderees”.
The initial surrender could take place at any of the authorities which the State government could decide. However, it had been proposed that the initial surrender would be permissible at any SDO or police station level, ADC or SDPO level or at the offices of DC or SP/Sr SP. Surrenders could also take place at the posts/offices of Assam Rifles or security forces or Central paramilitary forces in the State and accepted by any senior formation of police, Assam Rifles or security forces. Upon surrender, the official concerned would immediately inform the counterpart in police/district administration/security forces. The official before whom the initial surrender took place should also inform nodal officers of all agencies in his jurisdiction and the State Level Rehabilitation Office for further coordination.
The District Level Screening Committee would conduct a preliminary questioning of the “surrenderee” and in particular recommend and comment specifically on whether an individual was an active insurgent/UG or not.
After initial contact and once the local level agencies were informed, officials of district police and security forces would make arrangements to give protection to the individual and also transport him to a “State Level Rehab Centre” for “holding” the individual till the time the “background checks” were carried out and the surrender was accepted formally. A screening committee headed by IGP (Int) and comprising of nominated stakeholders would conduct the background check before issuance of the ‘Surrender Certificate’.
The cadre should promise “full disclosure” of antecedents at the time of surrender and interrogation. In the event of agencies concluding that the individual had provided false or incomplete information, the government and agencies could propose reduction/discontinuation in stipend or the rehabilitation package.
Once the surrender was formally accepted, the State government would issue a Surrender Certificate or “Certificate of Surrender”. And a person who had been issued Surrender Certificate after his release from the rehabilitation centre should report to the nearest police station once every three months for a period of 36 months. An entry to this effect would be made on the surrender certificate. The above processes would be completed within 30 days of the initial surrender, excluding the journey time.
Meanwhile, in the intervening period of 30 days, the police and security forces would, besides carrying out security and antecedent checks, also examine whether the weapons surrendered were “serviceable standard pattern weapons” and not country-made or spurious weapons.
Group surrenders: The policy also proposed to encourage group surrenders.
When a group surrender took place, the individual members in the group would have to undergo the same procedure for “security clearances and interrogation” as might be applicable to an individual surrender.
The government would provide additional incentives to leaders of the groups whenever group surrender took place. Also, a surrender would be considered a group surrender where the group consisted of at least five persons. The group surrender policy would also apply to persons surrendering with arms and ammunitions. The leader of the group where specifically identified would be eligible for an extra cash incentive besides the normal rehabilitation package. Where the leader was not identifiable, the entire group could share the incentive amount equally.
In case of a group surrender where some of the cadres were without weapons, usually the stipend would not be paid to the cadres without weapons. However, such a stipend or rehabilitation package would only be paid once the identity and involvement of the cadres with the UG factions was established beyond doubt (within 30 days of the surrender).


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