To bring the surrendered Naxals back to mainstream, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik watched a Hockey World Cup match along with them at Bhubaneswar on Thursday.
About 30 Naxals formerly belonging to the now-banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) came to watch the match in Bhubaneswar. Of these, 16 were women.
On the request of the surrendered Naxals, Malkangiri's Superintendent of Police, in coordination with other state government officials, made necessary arrangements to show them Hockey World Cup.
When they visited the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar to watch the match, they were "overjoyed" to see that they would sit beside Mr Patnaik and interact with him. The group thanked the chief minister for providing them the opportunity, which, they said, was a "an experience of a lifetime."
"We truly feel today that we are part of the mainstream," they said.
The group said that Mr Patnaik and the state government's appeal for peace persuaded them to give up Naxalism. They also praised the state government's "Surrender and Rehabilitation Scheme", and said they were properly rehabilitated by the state government after surrendering.
Under the scheme, "those militants/ extremists who either have criminal record or known to be important office bearers of the militant organisations and are willing to surrender with fire arms" would be compensated for the same, according to an official notice issued by the Odisha government in 2006.
The state government also said that the Rehabilitation Committee will prepare the Rehabilitation Package for each surrendered extremists by considering the socio-economic background of the extremist, his age, general education and technical qualification, preference for the kind of rehabilitation, and viability of the rehabilitation package in his case.
"After the surrenderee has been thoroughly debriefed and examined, the District Rehabilitation Committee shall forward his Rehabilitation Package to the State Government through the Director General & Inspector General of Police," it noted.