Raipur: The Chhattisgarh Police will soon start a course to reform surrendered and arrested Maoists.
The preparation of the course manual is currently under way, said Inspector General (IG) Sundaraj P.
Classes on the course will begin at Dantewada district jail, where around 600 Maoists are lodged at present, but only after ‘Covid Unlock’ begins in jails, said the police. Currently, no outsiders are allowed in jails.
Talking to ThePrint, Sundaraj said: “This will be a course of reform and persuasion aimed at influencing the ideology and thought process of the Maoists.”
He added: “This is the first occasion when a programme of reform for Maoists is being taken up as a remedy for a stable solution to prevent jailed Naxals from going back to their cadre (after their release). They will also realise that police and the government are not their enemies but protectors.”
Police officers heading anti-Maoist operations in Bastar said more than 90 per cent surrendered and arrested Maoists do not even know why they are fighting.
“They do not know what the Constitution is and have no inkling of the rights and responsibilities towards it,” said a senior police officer, who did not wish to be named.
He added that Maoists are indoctrinated with the only idea that police and the government are their biggest enemies.
The police said they are confident that the reform course will be successful and set a trend for more such programmes in the future.
Apart from holding classroom sessions for the arrested and surrendered Maoists, the course manual will be used later for counselling of villagers residing in Naxal strongholds. The police said their aim is also to protect villagers from being indoctrinated by the Maoists.
Course manual being prepared
The Dantewada police is now preparing the course manual to make Maoists understand what Naxalism could do to the society, state and the nation.
Before finalising the manual, the police said, they will map the depth to which the jailed Maoists have been indoctrinated and influenced. Following this, their need for reform will be assessed and the course material will be documented.
Dantewada Superintendent of Police (SP) Abhishek Pallava said: “As many as 100 questions have been prepared to know the thought process and scale of indoctrination of the imprisoned Maoists.”
He added: “Although a broad outline of the course manual is ready, it will be finalised after seeing and assessing their replies to these questions. This will also help us understand the scale of diversion in their thought process.”
Course in Gondi dialect
Police officers said the course manual will include mainly 11 broad categories.
Some of these are Naxalism and the process of joining the cadre, Maoist atrocities, loss of tribal art and culture owing to extremism, loss of villagers’ economy due to this, Schedule 5 and 6 of the Indian Constitution, legal framework to protect tribals and their areas, specially Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, Panchayati Raj Act, Forest Rights Act and Public Safety Act.
This apart, the administrative structure of India and Chhattisgarh, comparison between Naxal-hit and Naxal-free districts along with counseling of the families of arrested or surrendered Maoists and also those whose members have been killed by Naxals will be included in the course manual.
SP Pallava said the course will be titled Badalam Ekaka (Changing Mind), which is in Gondi dialect.
The manual will also be in the Gondi dialect as most of the jailed Maoists do not know Hindi. It will also have many video and audio documents in Gondi. Interviews of the families of Naxals and victims of Maoism will be prepared and shown in jail classrooms.
A team of trainers, who will take the classes, will be formed in the coming days, while the classes will start only after Covid-19 unlock begins in jails.
“As of now, no one (from outside) is allowed to go inside the prisons due to Covid,” said the SP.