Odisha: Three Maoist Leaders Take the Surrender Route

After the coronavirus pandemic affected lives across the country and beyond, it is no surprise that the pathogen has also taken a toll on the Maoists, an outlawed guerrilla force operating in several corridors of the state. In the wake of the distressing situation, and no governmental support at hand, three top Maoist rebel leaders – including two women leaders – surrendered before the Odisha DGP.

Interestingly, the surrenders come following the encounter last week in the Kandhamal district, post which the DGP had promised heightened operations and retaliatory measures. In the encounter, two commandos of the Odisha Police’s Special Operation Group (SOG) and an unidentified number of Maoists were injured during an exchange of fire inside Uma forest, under Gochhapada police station limits in Kandhamal district.

The three rebel leaders who laid down their arms include Talse Huika, Rame Podiamia and Raidhar Dhurua. Of the three, both Talse Huika and Rame Podiamia were Area Committee Members (ACM) and carried an active reward of ₹4 lakhs. Raidhar Dhurua was a party member. While the Maoists generally surrender before an SP, this is the first time in two years that they are doing so before the DGP.

“Among the main reasons for their surrender were the frequent appeals by chief minister Naveen Patnaik to join the mainstream, attractive surrender and rehabilitation policy of the state government, better healthcare and education facilities and misconduct or ill-treatment by their seniors,” Abhay told media persons. Sources in the know also mentioned the growing schism between the Odia and Telegu Maoist counterparts as one of the reasons for their dissatisfaction with the unit.

Police sources said Huika was inducted into the CPI (Maoist) outfit in 2012 when she was only thirteen. At that time she was asked to perform in Jana Natya Mandali, which is the cultural troupe of the Maoists.

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