Seventeen Naxals, many of them hard core, surrendered before police in the last one month in Maharashtra’s Naxal-hit Gadchiroli district, a senior police official said on Sunday.
Of the 17, 13 hail from Kotmi-Kasansur, which has been one of the most difficult Naxal areas for the police for last many years.
“We have opened a new police post at Kotmi in February and it has proved to be very effective,” said Gadchiroli Superintendent of Police Sandip Patil.
“The surrender operations may gather momentum after first week of August, post ‘Shaheed Week’ observed from July 28 to August 3,” the senior officer said.
Of the 17 naxals, nine carried a reward of over Rs. 30 lakh on their heads. Of them, Irpa Kujur was involved in 18 violent offences including encounters, blasts, murders and waylaying of a truck carrying explosions.
During Patil’s tenure as district police chief, 37 Naxals surrendered in 2014, and 24 have done so this year so far.
The new Naxal surrender policy also comes with substantial cash reward and has been propagated across the district as ‘Kaun Banega Lakhpati’ scheme through posters in affected areas.
Gadchiroli Police also has a cell for publicity or counter propaganda and it organises peace rallies, has a constant dialogue with locals. Films, street plays and posters are also used to wean away people from joining Naxal movement.
Prominent rebels, who have surrendered in past six months are Gopi, commander of Korchi 3 dalam and Vijay Dugga, commander of Chatgaon dalam. Both carried a reward of Rs 12 lakh on their head.