After baying for each other’s blood for long, policemen erupted in joy as two surrendered Maoists tied the knot in Odisha’s Kalahandi district. The Bhawanipatna reserve police premises wore a festive look on Friday with men and women in khaki cheering former red rebels Ramdas and Kalamdei as they tied the knot after shunning their olive green uniforms.
Ramdas Keshav Valadi (29), who hails from Chhattisgarh, married Kalamdei Majhi (25), a native of Kalahandi, at a temple on the reserve police premises after leading the life of guerrillas, albeit in separate areas.
The groom surrendered on February 18, 2020 while the bride lay down her arms four years before on January 5, 2016.
But as fate had it, they accidentally met at a hospital in Bhawanipatna, where Valadi’s father was undergoing cataract surgery after his son’s surrender. It was love at first sight for the duo and soon their parents met and agreed to their marriage.
When the police learnt about the former red rebels’ wish to get married, it decided to arrange for the wedding and bear the expenses. Apart from the surrendered Maoists’ family members, Rajesh Pandit, DIG (south western range) Koraput, Dr Saravana Vivek M, Kalahandi superintendent of police, and Biplab Sarkar, commandant of 64th battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), attended the wedding.
Valadi was a member of the Kandhamal-Kalahandi-Boudh-Nayagarh (KKBN) division of the outlawed CPI (Maoist) outfit for almost nine years, while Majhi was part of the Bansadhara-Ghumusura-Nagabali (BGN) division of the banned organisation. “The duo joined the outfit under the false impression that the Maoists were working in the interest of the tribals but later realised that the red rebels were actually anti-development," an officer said.
Valadi received Rs 3.98 lakh under the rehabilitation package after his surrender before Kalahandi Police. He hadn’t met his family, which also includes two sisters and one brother, for a decade. Majhi had received Rs. 2.98 lakh for rehabilitation after her surrender.
Pandit urged Maoists to lay down their arms to lead a better life like that of Valadi and Majhi.