ANDHRA PRADESH

Ex-naxal finds her life totally transformed

MARCHING AHEAD: Surrendered extremist K. Bhagyasree during the march past in connection with the Home Guard Raising Day celebrations on Wednesday.  



Staff Reporter

Living like Bhagyasree is more satisfying than like Saritakka, she says

ADILABAD: While marching to the tune of ` Saare jahan se achcha.........' on the 43rd Home Guard Raising Day, K. Bhagyasree, a former extremist, discovered life in perfect harmony. After a five-year tough stint as member of Indervelli dalam of Maoists, Bhagyasree of Mankapur in Ichoda mandal, then known as Saritakka, surrendered gave up arms in 2002 and the next year she was recruited as a home guard.

Bhagyasree now literally sings peace in the police cultural troupe. Her diminutive person showcases the State's magnanimity in rehabilitating those who had gone astray.

Comparing her life while in the forests with that as a civilian, the ex naxalite points towards the .303 she was carrying for the parade. "Earlier, I raised the weapon to kill. Now I take the rifle only for defence," she observes.

Bhagyasree had received a three-month weapons training soon after joining Maoists.

"We were taught to aim at human targets. We were also taught escape tactics and how to take cover when under fire. It is so different here. There are no innocent human targets now. The discipline taught here does not show any method of escape," she compared.

Home guards are paid Rs.3,000 per month. This steady income has steadied Bhagyasree's life too. She likes her life this way because, "Sayantram varaku pani chesi bharta pillalato kalisi undochu (after working till evening one can live with family)." She shudders thinking of the life of privations underground. "Annam leka neellu leka tirigevallam (we used to move without food or water)." "I appeal to all those who are still operating as naxals to choose a life of peace. Being Bhagyasree is more comfortable than being Saritakka," she observed.