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Shunned by Maoists over COVID-19 fear, former rebel vows to give up violence in Chhattisgarh

Till last month, short and sturdy Sumitra Cherpa was a dreaded Maoist commander in the conflict zone of Bastar in south Chhattisgarh.

Published: 07th July 2020 07:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th July 2020 07:29 AM   |  A+A-

Ex-Maoist fighter Sumitra Cherpa being given an initial monetary incentive (Photo | EPS)

Ex-Maoist fighter Sumitra Cherpa being given an initial monetary incentive (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

RAIPUR: Till last month, short and sturdy Sumitra Cherpa was a dreaded Maoist commander in the conflict zone of Bastar in south Chhattisgarh.

But one pandemic has changed the 34-year-old woman rebel’s perception about the outlawed organisation she has been associated with for 16 years, when she was forced to leave the outfit on suspicion of contracting the deadly coronavirus.

The active fighter engaged with the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) battalion no-1 of the banned CPI (Maoist) since 2010 was asked to leave the organisation unceremoniously after she had caught a cold and fever in mid-June.

She left for her village in strife-torn Bijapur district where the Bastar Police nabbed her following the local inputs. The police then arranged for her a health check-up and medical test, and sent her to a quarantine centre.

Call it a blessing in disguise, Sumitra tested negative. The police accepted Sumitra’s offer to surrender under the rehabilitation policy of the state government.

“Sumitra was held from the jungle of Pedankawali village under suspicious condition. During interrogation, she revealed her association with the armed wing,” said inspector general of police (Bastar zone) Sunderraj P.

“The senior rebels had apprehended that she might spread the infection among other cadres,” added Sunderraj.“With her recent experience, her attitude towards the security forces and the local administration has changed. Now, she realises the hollowness in the Maoist ideology,” he said.

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