New Delhi: The stick should precede the carrot when the Union government is preparing its anti-Naxalite strategy, say heads of state police departments fighting the Maoist guerillas.

New initiative: A Naxal training camp. Police officers say that a new surrender policy could work in Naxalite-affected states only if the security forces are able to first dominate the areas now held by the guerrillas. Mustafa Quraishi / AP

The officers say that a new surrender policy being contemplated by the government, based on cash payments to those who give up the gun, could work in Naxalite-affected states only if the security forces are able to first dominate the areas now held by the guerrillas.

The home ministry is expected to announce a payment of Rs3 lakh to every active Maoist who surrenders.

Naxalites take their name from Naxalbari, a village in West Bengal where a violent peasant movement erupted in the 1960s and spread over the years to other regions of India. In 2008, across eight states, 231 security personnel and 490 civilians were killed in the conflict between the state and armed Maoists.

Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa have seen the highest number of Naxalite attacks.

Director general of police (DGP) in Orissa Manmohan Praharaj said the Centre first needed to ensure that the manpower of the forces posted in the state was enhanced. “The only issue that we need to tackle is how the state government and the Central government will raise the capacity of the state police forces to tackle the problems posed by extremism," he said. The surrender policy could be implemented only after the state was able to regain its hold over the areas now dominated by the Naxalites, he said.

Chhattisgarh DGP Vishwa Ranjan said there was no point in having a surrender policy at this stage until the state police and paramilitary were able to overpower the Naxalites.

“We had also initiated a surrender policy four years ago. But the results were poor because the cadre were scared of being killed by the leaders," he said.

The Centre will have to ensure that the forces dominated the area before announcing the special package, he said.

However, Jharkhand DGP Vishnu Dayal Ram said a surrender policy could definitely work in the state if the government would drop cases registered against the Naxalite cadre. “If the cases are withdrawn along with provision of a cash compensation of Rs3 lakh, the scheme could certainly work in Jharkhand," he said.

Communist Party of India leader in Chhattisgarh Manish Kunjam, who has been representing the tribals’ cause, said a big offensive against the Naxalites before holding talks would be disastrous.

“The surrender policy can work if the government can give them lifelong pension. But if they go in for the offensive first, tribal areas like Bastar will be finished and we will lose the tribal way of life forever. The Centre should first call the Naxalites for a dialogue," said Kunjam.