Altogether 18 Maoists, four of them carrying cash rewards on their heads, surrendered on Wednesday in Chhattisgarhs Dantewada district, the police said.
The rebels, including a woman, turned themselves in before Dantewada Collector Dipak Soni, Superintendent of Police Abhishek Pallava and CRPF officials at Bhansi police station, and expressed desire to lead a normal life and contribute in development of their area, they said.
All of them were active in the Bhansi-Kamaloor area under the Bhairamgarh Area Committee of Maoists and mainly tasked with damaging railway tracks, putting up Maoist banners, posters and spreading Maoist propaganda and supplying ration to ultras, Pallava said.
The surrender comes two weeks after the police launched an initiative named in the local Gondi dialect as ”lon varratu”, meaning ”return to your village/home to encourage Maoists to give up arms and join the national mainstream.
Of the 18 rebels, two – Telaam Bhima and Mangal Bhaskar – were active as head of Dandakaranya Adivasi Kisaan Majdoor Sangthan (DAKMS – a wing of Maoists) units, the SP said.
Two others – Telaam Chaitu and Santu Kunjam – were chief of CNM (Chetna Natya Mandli- a cultural outfit of Maoists) groups, Mr Pallava said, adding all these four were carrying a reward of Rs 1 lakh each on their heads.
The remaining 14 cadres, all of lower ranks, were working as members of DAKMS and CNM groups, he added.
Explaining the reasons for surrendering, the rebels said they were disillusioned with “hollow” Maoist ideology and violence being committed by them and at the same time they also wanted to see development in their area, Mr Pallava said.
They will be provided assistance as per the Surrender and Rehabilitation policy of the state government, the police officer added.
Under the ”lon varratu” initiative, launched on June 12, the police have started putting up posters and banners in native villages of cash reward-carrying Maoists, mentioning their names and appealing to them to shun the path of violence and join mainstream of the society, he said.
The initiative has started yielding positive result as reflected in this surrender, Mr Pallava added.