The Andhra Pradesh police have stumbled upon a unique idea to get Maoists to surrender.
Taking advantage of the peace talks and the ceasefire between the state government and two major Naxalite groups, they have started organising counselling camps for family members of Maoists having difficulty in continuing their underground life.
The idea is that they will go back and persuade the Maoists to join the mainstream.
The two-day programme was launched in all Naxalite-affected districts on Monday.
In Srikakulam -- the northernmost coastal district, which was the birthplace of the Naxalite movement in AP -- the police counselled the parents and relatives of 17 Maoists.
"We have called the parents of all the UG cadres in our district. Out of 29 UG cadres, the parents and relatives of 17 UG cadres were called in today for counselling. The counselling for the kin of the remaining 12 cadres will be taken up tomorrow," a district police official said over telephone.
"We told the parents to prevail upon their wards to surrender to the district collector, superintendent of police or any other district authority. The relatives were counselled on the disadvantages for their kin remaining underground, including health problems, etc. We assured them that the government would do everything to rehabilitate the Maoists if they come back [to the mainstream]," he added.
"Why continue to lie incognito, facing all sorts of hardship, when the ban on the Maoists has been lifted? Come out of the forests and join the mainstream, we will extend all cooperation and take prompt steps for your rehabilitation. Treat the police as your well-wishers and surrender," Srikakulam Superintendent of Police Y Nagi Reddy said in an appeal.
The SP said, "The Maoists, who may be reluctant to continue in the revolutionary movement for any reason, can surrender in the melas and inspire their colleagues to tread the peaceful path of surrender for their own well-being and that of the society at large. There is no reason why those who have lost confidence in the extremist ideology or have personal problems should continue in the party."
The SP assured the Maoists that the police would take care of their health problems and ensure that their children get jobs.
The camps will be followed by 'surrender melas', where the Maoists can lay down their arms and walk away with the money that will be given as 'interim relief for rehabilitation'.