The hideouts of left-wing extremists active in the Andhra-Odisha border have come under the firm grip of the COVID-19 pandemic with red rebels succumbing to the disease and getting infected with the deadly virus. The rebels are dying without medical treatment, police said, quoting the version of two Maoists who surrendered before the Malkangiri police on Sunday.
The police in Odisha’s Malkangiri district had earlier urged the left-wing extremists showing COVID-19 symptoms to surrender for prompt medical symptoms. Police had also intensified the vigil to check the sneaking of infected Naxals into human habitations as it might lead the disease to spread and infect the villagers.
Two hardcore Maoists, carrying cash rewards, surrendered to join the mainstream during the Malkangiri visit of Director General Police Abhay today.
Two Naxals who pledged to shun the path of violence for returning to the mainstream, are identified as Rame Podiami, a woman cadre, and Raidhar Dhurua, police said adding that all of them carried cash rewards on their heads. Besides, a woman Maoist- Tulas Huika-who was the area committee member of Narayanpatana Maoist group also surrendered before police DGP in Koraput today.
The Naxal duo had participated in several attacks on security forces and ambushes in addition to several other incidents during their underground activities.
Both of them get monetary assistance as per the Surrender and Rehabilitation Scheme of the Government of Odisha. Besides, they will be provided with financial assistance for building a house, pursuing studies, and getting training in a trade and vocation of their will.
The ideological deviation, excellent surrender, and rehabilitation policy of the government besides the raging pandemic forced them to leave the path of violence to return to the mainstream.
“The appeal made by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to Maoists and militias to leave the path of violence for the peaceful development of these areas is paying dividends. As a result, in the past two years more than 20 active Maoist cadres and hundreds of active militias and Maoist sympathizers have surrendered in Malkangiri district”, police officials said.
The sequence of surrender by red ultras in recent times is a clear indicator that the Maoist organisation is weakening in Odisha.
Malkangiri has carved out a spot as one worst affected districts in the country, reporting as many as 332 Maoist incidents between 2008 and 2020, with 101 civilians and 77 security personnel deaths. Of this, Swabhiman Anchal accounted for the deaths of 25 civilians and 49 security personnel. In 2016, in an encounter at Ramaguda in Swabhiman Anchal, some 30 Maoist ultras were killed. In 2011, the then Malkangiri collector R. Vineel Krishna was abducted while he had gone to supervise developmental work.
The Swabhiman Anchal in Malkangiri was once regarded as the epicenter of left-wing extremism along with other areas such as Dantewada, Bijapur, Bastar, and Narayanpur regions in Chhattisgarh.
However, the Maoists’ strength in the erstwhile cutoff areas in Swabhiman Anchal in Malkangiri district, is steadily disintegrating. There has been a discernible turnaround in the region with the deployment of BSF and construction of Gurupriya River Bridge connecting the area with the mainland, added the official.