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Four Maoist guerillas surrender in Lohardaga

IN all 18 Maoists have surrendered before Lohardaga police since the launch of Operation Naee Disha, the highest in any district. Once a Maoist hub, Lohardaga is fast turning into a tourist destination.

ranchi Updated: Aug 17, 2017 15:31 IST
B Vijay Murty
B Vijay Murty
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Senior police officials with four Maoists who surrendered in Lohardaga on Wednesday(HT Photo)

Four Maoists, two of them top leaders, on Wednesday laid down their arms before police and CRPF officials in Lohardaga district.

Among those who surrendered included Balak Kherwar, 27, a sub-zonal commander and Ajay Oraon, 21, area commander. The other two, Brahmdeo Kherwar, 23, and Shivam Kherwar, 21, were squad members of the rebel group that was once declared country’s biggest internal security threat.

While Balak Kherwar, also popular as Bhagat carried booty of Rs 5 lakh, Oraon had a cash reward of Rs 2 lakh announced against his name.

Unlike previous surrenders where the Maoists were garlanded, given pay cheques and invited to give speeches amid full media glare, the Lohardaga police kept the development a low key affair to avoid controversies.

DIG South Chhotanagpur Amol V Homkar, who travelled from Ranchi to supervise the surrenders, said regular operations by security forces’ have broken the backbone of Maoists in the area compelling them to lay down arms. “Besides, they also seem to be frustrated by the jungle life and desperately long to breathe in free air,” he said.

Jharkhand police last year had launched ‘Operation Nayi Disha’, a surrender policy, to lure the Red rebels give up arms and avail benefits to start life afresh after facing trial in the cases against them.

The Lohardaga police took the initiative to a new high as they tried different innovative steps to make the insurgents give up life of violence and bloodshed. An intra-district volleyball tournament that kick-started last year proved to be the milestone.

While several ultras voluntarily came out of the jungle and joined the mainstream, in many cases family members joined police in tracing and coercing their near and dear ones in the rebel outfit to lay down arms.

The result has been overwhelming as in the last two years, in all 18 Maoists surrendered in the district alone. Besides 22 child soldiers, who were forcibly recruited, either fled away and walked into police camps or were rescued.

“We are enthused by the string of surrenders,” said an elated Lohardaga police superintendent, Karthik S. He said the district would soon be free from Left wing extremism (LWE) and would regain its lost glory as an ideal tourist destination.

Karthik said the target was now to hunt for the remaining Maoists. “Given the spurt of surrenders, I don’t think the remaining ones would sustain for long in the jungles if they do not surrender. They are constantly on the run and we are chasing them. Either they surrender or perish.”

The four surrendered Maoists gave vital inputs about the organisation, its structure and their hideouts. They resolved to support police in their war against LWE.

Narrating his journey, Balak Kherwar said he had joined the rebel group in 2011 following an altercation with influential people of his village. “From a trainee, I soon became a master trainer and also developed skills in making and planting improvised explosive devices (IED). Before I opted to walk out, I was moving in the troupe led by the outfit’s central committee member (CCM), Sudhakaran, who is resident of Adilabad district in Telangana. He has seven cases in his name,” he said.

Oraon’s journey in the rebel outfit began in 2014. He said he was forcibly recruited in the organisation and trained in guerilla warfare before being inducted in regional committee member, Navin Yadav’s squad. Oraon said he was disappointed by the Maoists’ doublespeak and oppressive approach towards poor, innocent villagers.

First Published: Aug 17, 2017 15:31 IST