GADCHIROLI: Five top Maoists, including two women, collectively carrying a Rs 24 lakh (Rs 2.4 million) reward on their heads, have surrendered before the Maharashtra security forces, officials said here on Wednesday.
The Maoists were identified as: Saini alias Mirgu Zuru Velda, 36 with a reward of Rs 12 lakh, Arjun Naresh B. Poya, 25, and Vinu alias Bijavu Sunder Kovachi, 22, both carrying rewards of Rs 2 lakh each.
The two women Moaists who laid down arms are: Roopi alias Zuri Kaandi Narote, 36 with a reward of Rs 6 lakh on her head and Chhaya alias Raje Devu Kulyeti, 23 with a Rs 2 lakh reward.
Incidentally, Velda and Narote and Poya and Kulyeti are married couples, said an official spokesperson.
Velda was an active Maoist since 2001 and served in various Maoist jungle platoons and was promoted to Commander. He participated in 63 gunfights with police, and was wanted for 17 murders, 11 blasts, four arson and three kidnapping cases.
Poya became a Maoist in 2011 and since 2014 was part of the media team of the organization. He was wanted for five gunfights, one murder and one arson case.
Kovachi became a rebel and joined Maoist forces in 2011 and was serving as the security guard for district division chief Joganna. He had cases registered against him for six gunfights, two murders and seven arson incidents.
Among the women, Narote turned rebel in 2003 and was subsequently appointed as Platoon Commander with 42 gunfights, seven blasts, eight murders and two arson cases lodged against her.
Kulyeti joined the Maoist forces in August 2011 and was an active member with five police gunfights, three murders and eight arson cases pending against her.
The security forces have termed the development as "a major boost" in the ongoing anti-Maoist war in the Vidarbha region of eastern Maharashtra.
In the current year 2017-2018, so far 27 most wanted Maoists have surrendered, including area committee members, company members and commanders at various levels, dealing a severe blow the rebel activities in the region.