RAIPUR: In an apparent boost to the ongoing anti-Maoist operations in south Chhattisgarh, as many as 59 Naxalites, who were supporters and executed the groundworks of the outlawed rebels, surrendered before the Bastar inspector general of police at Errabore in the strife-torn Sukma district on Thursday.
The surrender, instigated by the local tribal villagers, is biggest this year in the conflict zone of Bastar.
Among the 59, there are 16 women and nine had criminal cases pending against them.
“Frustrated with the anti-development and anti-tribal ideology of the CPI (Maoist) over 500 villagers persuaded the lower range committee cadres to shun violence and join the mainstream. They were inhabitants of the remote villages located in Naxal stronghold of Sukma. It will weaken the rebels’ influence in the region”, Bastar IG Vivekanand Sinha affirmed.
The Sukma SP Abhishek Meena, CRPF commandant Pankaj Kumar and SDOP Vivek Shukla were present during the occasion.
Those who surrendered were produced before the media but their names were not revealed fearing the reprisal and threat to their lives from the Maoists.
The Sukma police said that they will initially be given an incentive amount of Rs 10000 each and further would be entitled for assistance under the surrender and rehabilitation package of the state government.
The change of hearts among the villagers is interpreted as an outcome of the tactical crusade ‘Tedmunta Bastar Abhiyan’ (Rising Bastar campaign) continuing in the region since 2016.
“Winning the confidence of tribal villagers who have been following the diktats of Naxalites remains challenging. We judiciously pursued similar practice adopted by Maoists. Conducting meetings of villagers, interacting on local issues, fixing posters and circulating pamphlets, resolving problems, creating awareness on government’s initiatives and exposing the ideology of Maoists were held under the campaign”, said Vivek Shukla, sub divisional officer of police (SDOP) who spearheaded the campaign at Dornapal in Sukma.