In a unique show of one-upmanship, the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) has offered to reward all non-Maoist political workers (read CPI-M cadres) for surrendering arms and returning to the mainstream.
On July 28, the West Bengal government made an offer to lure the rebels to the mainstream. Now, the Maoists have made a seven to 10 times bigger counteroffer to disarm the CPI(M) cadres.
The deal was announced by the Maoists’ Bengal-Jharkhand-Orissa ‘Border Regional Committee’ in a leaflet distributed in areas of Purulia and Bankura districts. The leaflet said, “Members of the CPI(M)’s harmad (armed raiders) brigade can surrender and return to the mainstream.” It also warned: “We urge all harmads to surrender. If they do otherwise, the people will show no mercy towards them.”
The Bengal government offered Rs 25,000 for a machinegun and Rs 15,000 for an AK-47 assault rifle, besides a stipend of Rs 2,000 for three months for taking up vocational training. Another Rs 1.5 lakh is offered to be deposited in a bank account in the Maoist or his nominee’s name.
The rebels are offering Rs 1 lakh for every AK-47 and INSAS self-loading rifle, Rs 70,000 for a Sten gun or a pistol or a branded revolver and Rs 50,000 for non-automatic rifles. As for ammunition, the rebels claimed they would offer “market rates”.