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Fake surrenders in Assam
Published on 1 Jun. 2009 12:13 AM IST
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Over the last five years, more than 4600 people have surrendered in Assam. Many of them might be ordinary people turning themselves in because of the money they would get from the government for rehabilitation. The police have admitted that many surrendered militants could be regular citizens. “You are right as far as affinity of characters which have come forward, they claim themselves to be a member of certain terrorist outfit. Some of the security forces are too eager to take them to their fold for surrender with some known names to get the credit,” Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, IGP, law and order Assam said. “There has been some cases that indicated some who are not related with any terrorist outfit are made to look like terrorists and made to surrender,” Mahanta said. A former ULFA militant Lohit Deori, who laid down arms in 2000, claims the security forces are faking these surrenders, Sinlung reported on its website Sunday. “The Army brought in lots of boys from villages and gave them Rs 2 lakh to surrender. They didn’t bother whether they were ULFA militants, dacoits or civilians. They were made to surrender so the numbers would increase and the Army would get credit. Sometimes, they made one boy surrender two or three times. What is the point of that?” Surrendered ULFA leader, Lohit Deori said. After a suspiciously high number of surrenders, the Central government has issued a directive to Assam. It says surrenders should be accepted only after fool-proof verification of identity by the Special Branch of the state police. As proof, every militant must deposit serviceable, sophisticated weaponry. Financial assistance will be given only after a rehabilitation programme is completed. Former Director General of Police, H K Deka has another fear. He says the sales of arms may go up, with people trying to prove they are militants. “Suppose some insurgents wants to surrender and do not get arms, what they will do is to get some money and buy the arms that may create problem. Actually proper verification has to be there. Everyone has to be verified and whoever is found genuine is allowed to surrender. If suppose a big group decides to surrender but have just 2 arms the system of giving weapons won’t help,” Deka said. Getting arms may not be difficult. Because there’s a flourishing racket in arms sales in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar. Call it the over enthusiasm of the security forces to increase the numbers in spite of thousands of surrenders in past couple years there has been no impact on the militant groups, which has forced the centre to rethink its policy of issuing strict guidelines to the state government to doubly sure about the identity of the militants.

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