Staff Reporter

Eighteen-year-old Laxmi surrenders before police in Rayagada

Women Maoists from State being forced to marry cadre from Chhattisgarh

Laxmi is involved in several cases of violence, including killing of Swami Lakshmananda

BERHAMPUR: Eighteen-year-old woman Maoist, Laxmi Pidkaka alias Sunita, surrendered before police in Rayagada district on Wednesday to escape from a forced marriage to a cadre from Chhatisgarh.

Her disclosures after surrender revealed that the Maoists in south Orissa had started using force to marry off their women activists to cadres from Chhatisgarh deputed to Orissa. It is part of their effort not to let the disillusioned women cadres get away from the clutches of their violent outfit.

Speaking to The Hindu, Rayagada Superintendent of Police (SP) Ashis Kumar Singh said recently the naxal leaders in Orissa were not letting their women cadres from Orissa to marry any other cadre from the State. “The Maoists have the fear that such marriages lead to surrenders, which has happened in the past. This year two married Maoist couples had surrendered in Rayagada district,” he said.

In recent times Maoists from Chhattisgarh are being deputed to work in south Orissa by the naxal outfit. According to the confession of Laxmi the Maoist leaders have started to compel women cadres of marriageable age to marry these violent vagrants from Chhatisgarh. As both would be from separate states the man from Chhatisgarh would not agree to surrender in Orissa and it would be hard for the poor woman to escape from the clutches of naxals and her hardcore naxal husband from Chhatisgarh.

According to Laxmi she was detached from a tribal naxal cadre of Orissa with whom she had developed romantic bonding. Then she was put under pressure to marry a hardcore naxal from Chhatisgarh, which she did not agree to.

It made her approach police for surrender.

Maoists had been able to lure Laxmi to their fold while she was only 14 years in age due to instigation of naxal leader Uday alias Rama Rao. Uday had compelled her to elope from home. Uday is now in jail. During her short stint she had been able to become a hardcore naxal as she took part in the attack on armoury in Nayagarh district and killing of VHP leader Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati in Kandhamal district in 2008. She had around 12 cases of major violence pending against her.

She had developed romantic relationship with one fellow cadre Raju, while she was working in Gajapati district. But the Maoist leaders feared that her relationship with Raju may lead the couple to surrender.

Her lover was sent to a different ‘Dalam’ and she was compelled to marry a Maoist from Chhatisgarh whom she desisted due to his violent mentality.

Laxmi’s parents were present at the office of the Rayagada Superintendent of Police (SP) while she surrendered to welcome her home. The police authorities promised adequate security for this brave woman, who had dared to oppose and reveal the exploitive practice of forced marriage in the naxal movement.