CHIKKAMAGALURU: Is the Naxal movement and its force in Malnad region losing its base? This question has been doing rounds in the district and in the minds of the public.
According to senior officials in the Anti-Naxal Force, the answer seems to be in the affirmative.
Two decades of Naxal movement appears to be on the wane if the latest trend of rise in number of surrendering suspected Maoists is any indication. The Naxal movement grew to oppose Kudremukh mining, development works at Tunga and Bhadra, evacuation of tribals from the Kudremukh National Park.
Senior officials in the ANF say that only three Naxals — Mundagaru Latha, Angadi Suresh and Pradeep — are active and others might have fled to other places including Kerala.
In the 90s, the Naxal movement was at its peak. Parvathy and Hajima fell prey to the bullets of police at Eedu. In 2005, the man behind chalking out plans of the struggle was killed by the police near Mertigudda. Till date, more than 20 suspected Maoists are believed to have been killed.
The government, in 2010, announced a Naxal surrender and rehabilitation package after entering into understanding with the members of the Civilian Forum for Peace.
Naxalite Venkatesh surrendered before the district administration in 2004 and got the package benefits along with Mallika, Komala and Jaya.
Venkatesh is now farming while Mallika has been working as an assistant in the Jayapura Gram Panchayat office. Komala and Jaya are leading married lives.
This was followed by the surrender of Sirimane Nagaraj and Noor Sridhar two years ago and they are working as social activists in Bengaluru.
On Monday, four more suspected Maoists — Neelguli Padmanabh, his wife Bharathi, Raju and his wife Rizawna Begum — surrendered before the district administration in the presence of state committee members. They said that they do not want any package benefits but they want to lead normal lives.
All this, according to police, are indicators of the dwindling numbers of Naxals in Malnad.