At a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party led government at the Centre is mulling a change in strategy to deal with the Maoist menace after last week's deadly Sukma attack, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has highlighted Bengal's success story in dealing with the same.
Bengal, the birthplace of Naxal movement in the 60's witnessed the revival of violent anti-government agitation backed by the Maoists in the impoverished Jungalmehal region during the end of the erstwhile Left front government. But soon after a regime change in 2011, the Mamata Banerjee government successfully quelled the rebellion by killing Maoist commander Kisenji and arresting Chatradhar Mahato, the leader of Peoples Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) - a frontal organisation spearheading the agitation backed by rebels.
Elaborating on how the state was trying to integrate rebel cadres into the mainstream, Mamata wrote on Facebook, "So far, in West Bengal 328 Left wing extremists have surrendered. This includes 111 Maoists in 2017 (till date). 205 surrenderees have already been enrolled as Special Home Guards. Now, 11 more are being enrolled as Special Home Guards and another 9 cases are in process. Thus, total of 225 surrenderees will be enrolled for employment till date."
Banerjee also announced that the Bengal government had designed rehabilitation programme with incentives, providing employment and entrepreneurial opportunities to those who have surrendered so that they become a part of mainstream.
"Apart from employment, surrendering Maoists get financial incentives as well as assistance for housing, medical and child education, as per norms set up by the government," Banerjee announced.