Surrender of 82 Maoists under ‘Lon Varratu’ holds hope for Chhattisgarh
Chhattisgarh has several Maoist infested districts including Dantewada.Updated: Aug 09, 2020 21:27 IST
Chhattisgarh’s ‘Lon Varratu’ initiative has met with considerable success with the surrender of 82 Maoists, looking to return to mainstream following disillusionment with the ideology of the banned outfit. The initiative received a further shot in the arm on Sunday with the surrender of 12 ultras including five with a collective reward of Rs 6 lakh on their heads for their involvement in an ambush of security forces in the past. The Maoists surrendered in Dantewada district of the state.
The surrender took place in a ceremony attended by state officials, where Dantewada superintendent of police Abhishek Pallava told PTI that the cadres were drawn to the rehabilitation campaign being run by the local police and had given up the Maoist ideology. Dantewada MLA Devti Karma was also present on the occasion, he said.
“All 12 ultras said in their statement that they were disappointed with the hollow Maoist ideology, and were impressed by the ‘Lon Varratu’ campaign being run by the police in Dantewada,” Pallava was quoted as having told PTI.
Lon Varratu is a term from the local dialect and it means ‘return to your village’.
The police officer quoted above said that one of the surrendered ultras, Chanduram Sethiya, was an active member of platoon no 26 of Maoists and is suspected of involvement in three attacks on security forces, including the one in Bhusaras-Chingavarm in 2008 that resulted in deaths of 23 policemen and two civilians. Sethiya was carrying a reward of Rs 2 lakh on his head, Pallava said.
Lakhmu Hemla, Sunil Tati, Manu Mandavi and Maituram Barsa were the other four surrendered Maoists carrying rewards of Rs 1 lakh each on their heads, he added. They were all operating in separate areas of south Bastar.
The remaining seven ultras to have laid down their arms on Sunday were among the lower-rung of the outfit, Pallava told PTI.
One of them, Amit Kawasi was allegedly involved in the October 2018 Nilawaya attack, in which three policemen and a Doordarshan cameraman were killed in Dantewada.
Under the Lon Varratu initiative, the surrendered ultras will be rehabilitated as per the government’s surrender and rehabilitation policy, which includes financial assistance.
Posters asking Maoists to surrender have been put up by the police in their hotbeds in the state since the launch of the programme in June. The posters mention the names of rebels and appeal to them to join the mainstream, the police official said.