Four naxals including a couple surrendered in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district on Thursday and three of them tested positive for COVID-19, police said. The rebels, one of them carrying a reward of Rs 1 lakh on his head, turned themselves in at the Chhattisgarh Armed Force’s (CAF) camp in Bodli village, Dantewada Superintendent of Police Abhishek Pallava said.
The surrendered naxals said they were impressed by the police’s rehabilitation drive `LonVarratu’ and disappointed with the “hollow Maoist ideology", he added. Of the four, Son Singh alias Shivlal Mandavi (24) was active as head of the Bodli Panchayat Chetna Natya Mandli (CNM) and carried a reward of Rs 1 lakh on his head, he said.
CNM is a cultural wing of the Maoists. His wife Raimati Mandavi (22) and another woman cadre Sudri Kashyap (20) were active as CNM members, while Jairam Kashyap (22) was a militia member, the SP said.
They were subjected to coronavirus tests and three of them tested positive, Pallava said, adding that they are being provided treatment. Police claimed recently that several naxals have caught the viral infection, and appealed them to surrender and avail of medical treatment.
So far 359 naxals including 95 with rewards on their heads have surrendered in the district under the LonVarratu (return to your home) campaign, launched in June 2020, Pallava said. LonVarratu is a Gondi language term. Dantewada police has put up posters and banners in the native villages of at least 1,600 naxals, appealing them to give up violence.