Six Naxalites surrendered before state Home Minister R.R. Patil in Gadchiroli on Monday.
One of them, Jamuna alias Shevanti Kowase (20), was involved in the killing of 16 policemen at Tawitola in north Gadchiroli in May last year.
The three-day bandh called by the Naxalites in protest against the deployment of paramilitary forces in the district and alleged police “excess”, ended peacefully on Wednesday.
The surrender is being viewed as a major setback for Communist Party of India (Maoist).
One of the surrendered Naxalites, Tulasa alias Raju Masa Welda (28), was the divisional committee member of CPI (Maoist), Gadchiroli division.
A middle-school dropout, Tulasa from Kasnasur village in Bhamragarh, joined the organisation after being “convinced” by the Naxalites that a revolution was the only way to provide justice to tribals.
“I joined the movement 10 years ago. Their ideology moved me. I even participated in the attack on a police station at Geedam in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh a few years ago and killed several policemen,” said Tulasa.
“I later realised that we were killing our own people for silly reasons. I also could not see any visible change in the lives of our own people (tribals) during the period. This prompted me to surrender.”
Jamuna, from Kodape in south Gadchiroli, said she did not know that one of the victims, a constable, was pregnant when they ambushed the police party at Tawitola.
“I would have restrained myself from the act if I had known that she was pregnant. I was used by the Naxalites,” she said.
“I was fed up with the irregular and meaningless life in the jungles. I tried to convince them (Naxalites) to let me return home. But joining the movement is a one-way road. Finally, I ran away and laid down arms.”
Patil, who was in Gadchiroli for two days, said the government is planning to make the surrender policy more lucrative to encourage more Naxalites to give up arms.
“We will provide security and rehabilitation to the surrendered Naxalites,” he said.