GUWAHATI, Jan 18 � The Assam Government has started enforcing strict guidelines for surrender of militants, while, the Government has changed the rules for payment of stipend to the members of the militant groups under cease fire agreement and from now on, such payments will be made only through cross cheques.
Highly placed police sources told The Assam Tribune that at one point of time, different security agencies used to enforce surrender of militants, but in the process, persons who were not active members of the militant groups managed to �surrender� and take advantage of the rehabilitation scheme of the Government. To discourage the disturbing trend, a high level committee has been formed to screen the persons who want to surrender and the government accepts the surrenders only when the names of the militants are cleared by the screening committee. Moreover, surrender without weapons are not accepted unless the person who seeks to surrender is a well known member of a militant outfit.
Sources said that after the Government starts imposing strict guidelines, the number of persons who came forward to surrender came down and in the year 2011, only 86 militants surrendered and the figure was around 70 in 2010. Sources said that with 15 militant groups of Assam talking with the Government, the need to accept surrender of militants has come down and some senior police officers are of the view that the Government should stop accepting surrender of militants after a certain period of time.
On the rehabilitation scheme, sources said that as per the scheme of 1998, the militants who laid down arms were given a stipend of Rs 2,000 per month for a period of one year on the condition that they would have to stay in the rehabilitation camps. But majority of those who surrendered wanted to return home and the scheme was amended in 2005 and an amount of Rs 1.50 lakh is kept in a bank account of each surrendered militant and the amount is released after they receive a good conduct certificate on the completion of one year of their surrender. If any surrendered militant is either arrested or a case is registered against him, he would not get the benefit.
Meanwhile, the Government is now paying a stipend of Rs 3,000 per month to the members of the militant groups under cease-fire agreement on the basis of the lists submitted by the outfits. But there were cases where some outfits gave out fictitious names to inflate the number of cadres and there have also been instances where lower level cadres of the outfits alleged that they did not get the money regularly. To deal with the problem, the Special Branch of the Assam Police, which handles the fund, started a new process of making the payment of the stipend through crossed cheques from this month and every member of the outfits under cease-fire would have to open bank accounts to get the money and no one would be able to pocket the money by using fictitious names.
The pro-talk faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) has submitted a list of around 550 cadres including the members of the A and C companies of the 28 battalion of the outfit, who came overground earlier and photo identity cards will be issued to the cadres after they move into the camps, sources added.