The West Bengal government breached Maoist ranks on Wednesday, engineering the surrender of seven rebels, including slain CPI (Maoist) top leader Kishenji’s bodyguard, with their weapons.
This is the first time Maoists in the state have surrendered with arms following announcement of a rehabilitation package (see box) by chief minister Mamata Banerjee last year.
State DGP Naparajit Mukherjee gave the Maoists shawls and red roses at the CRPF 184 Battalion headquarters in this sub-divisional municipality in West Midnapore district.
Kishenji’s bodyguard Jagannath Soren alias Hero surrendered first with an Insas rifle and ammunition. He was followed by Sashadhar Mahato, Khagpati Mahato, Buddheshwar Hansda, Niranjan Nag, Lalit Mahato and Sukhendra Baskey.
Hero said he was not with Kishenji when he was killed in an encounter with security forces in Burisole forests of the district on November 24 last year. “I was with them (Maoists) for some years and had worked with Kishenji. I was fed up with their activities and killings and decided to surrender.”
The government is hoping this surrender will motivate more rebels to give up arms.
“There are still some Maoists who are moving about in the forest. We would like to appeal to them also to come back to the mainstream by surrendering,” the DGP said.
Earlier, rebel women leaders Jagori Baske and Suchitra Mahato had surrendered at the Writers’ Buildings (state headquarters) in Kolkata.