Other States

Adivasi group questions Maoist surrender claims

File photo of surrendered Maoists with CRPF and police officials.  

The Bastar region of Chhattisgarh has witnessed a wave of surrenders by local Maoist cadres in the last three months.

According to Bastar Inspector-General of Police S.R. Kalluri, over 140 Maoists have laid down arms in different districts of Bastar. The Bastar police have also arrested a number of suspected Maoists after Mr. Kalluri took over as the IG.

Most of those surrendering are members of the Maoist militias, the lowest rung of the CPI (Maoist) structure with very few leaders among them.

“The disillusionment of the local Chhattisgarhi cadre with the Maoist ideology and their exploitation by the outside cadre are leading to the spate of surrenders,” claimed the IG. Many more Maoists were contacting the police and would be surrendering in the near future, he said.

The police are also playing up the tribal and non-tribal divide among the Maoist cadres.

“In Rajnandgaon, we deliberately put up banners of Vijay Reddy, a Maoist leader from Andhra Pradesh. It was to give a message to the local cadres about how the people from other States are being given leadership role in the Maoist organisation,” said a senior police officer from the anti-Naxal operation unit.

However, the Adivasi Mahasabha, the Congress and the CPI have raised questions over the recent arrests and surrenders.

“The Bastar police arrested Manjhiram Kashyap and Sukhdev Nag from Tahakwada on August 25 and claimed that the two were involved in the Jiram Ghati attack on the Congress convoy last year. But Kashyap suffers from physical disability due to an accident three years ago and Sukhdev was already interrogated by the NIA for the Jiram attack and it found him not guilty,” said Manish Kunjam, former MLA and president of the Adivasi Mahasabha, in a letter to the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister.

State Congress president Bhupesh Baghel also questioned the spate of surrenders.

“Innocent tribals are being forced to surrender by the police just to win praise from their seniors and the media. Police claimed that two hardcore Maoists, Chaitram Salam and his wife Manjula, surrendered before them but the fact is that Manjula was working as a cook before the so-called surrender,” Mr. Baghel told reporters in Raipur.

Reacting to the allegations, the IG said the statements of Kashyap and Nag had been sent to the NIA.

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Printable version | Jun 11, 2021 1:11:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/adivasi-group-questions-maoist-surrender-claims/article6410352.ece

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