Maoist supporters demolish the column of martyrs in an old hearth and surrender

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A group of Maoist supporters on Monday demolished a column of martyrs erected by the Red rebels, burned their effigies and surrendered to police and BSF in Malkangiri district of Odisha.

The incident happened at Rallegada Gram Panchayat located in the cut off areas, now called Swabhiman Anchal, which was previously a Maoist hotbed. The area is surrounded by water on three sides while another is connected to dense forest in neighboring Andhra Pradesh.

No less than 150 Maoist supporters have also pledged not to help members of the banned CPI (Maoist) any longer.

This is part of Odisha Police’s Ghar Wapasi initiative. The interior and the villages infected by the Maoists are being integrated into the general public. We instill confidence in people to make sure they approach the police and administration to help accelerate development, said Malkangiri SP Nitesh Wadhwani.

Left-wing ultras operating in neighboring Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh used to take refuge in the cutoff zone as it was almost inaccessible to security personnel.

Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik in July 2018 inaugurated the Gurupriya’ Bridge over the Janbai River in the area which has been cut off for about five decades in the district’s Maoist affected area.

An election was held in the region for the first time in 15 years in 2019.

Those who surrendered during the day also burned Maoist clothing and literature and shouted slogans like “Maobadi Murdabad”.

BSF DIG SK Sinha said people have the confidence to speak out against the Maoists due to the heavy presence of security personnel in their area.

Police and BSF also distributed sports kits, sarees and other clothing items to people who pledged to return to the mainstream.

The district administration also gave them work cards and informed them about various government programs in agriculture, livelihood and others.

We also appeal on behalf of Odisha Police and Malkangiri administration to the remaining Maoists to avoid violence, lay down their arms and join the mainstream, the SP said.

Earlier on June 2, up to 50 Maoist supporters marched in front of Odisha’s DGP in Malkangiri. Nine days later, another 397 also joined the mainstream.

Police sources said that 37 jawans of the Greyhound counter-insurgency force, seven BSF personnel, four Odisha police personnel and 40 local tribesmen have been killed by the Maoists over the years. Thousands of people have also fled the area in fear, they said.

Swabhiman Anchal, comprising nine Gram Panchayats and 182 villages, was previously considered the refuge of the CPI’s (Maoist) Andhra Odisha Border Special Area Committee for more than two decades.

The region is undergoing a rapid turnaround, the SP said.

It now has schools, pucca roads, an ambulance service in addition to livelihood projects like fish farming. While people are getting boat service for transportation, now they have the installation of mobile towers as a priority.

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