Two Maoists carrying bounties on their heads surrendered before Odisha DGP Abhay in Malkangiri district on Sunday, and claimed that many red rebels have been infected with COVID-19 and some of them have succumbed to the infection due to lack of proper treatment in the jungles, police said. The surrendered Maoists said they were scared of the infection and preferred surrender over contracting the disease.
They were identified as Rame Podiami alias Sabita, an area committee member and Pallachalam local organisation squad commander of the CPI (Maoist) outfit, and Raidhar Dhurua, secretary of its Daldali cell, an officer said. Sabita carried a bounty of Rs 2 lakh on her head, while Dhurua had a Rs 1 lakh reward for his arrest, he said.
Speaking to reporters, the duo claimed that many Maoists have been infected with COVID-19 and some have succumbed to the disease due to a lack of proper treatment in the jungles. “We were scared of the infection and preferred to surrender," the Odisha Police said in a statement quoting Sabita.
The duo claimed that many Maoists from Odisha want to return to the mainstream but are being prevented by the leaders from surrendering. Reviewing the Left-wing Extremism (LWE) situation in Malkangiri and Koraput districts during a one-day visit, Abhay said, “Maoist activities in formerly cut-off area Swabhiman Anchal have come down significantly as many security camps have been established, bringing peace in the area." He appealed to the Maoists to return to the mainstream and promised them monetary assistance and rehabilitation under the state government’s scheme.
Abhay visited Sunabeda in Koraput district to review anti-Maoist operations and a BSF base in Malkangiri, where he appreciated the work of the paramilitary force. The DGP later visited Phulbani district and reviewed the LWE situation and the war on cannabis. “The Odisha Police is committed to bringing an end to the Maoist activities in Kandhamal district," he said.
He called for uprooting the flourishing illegal ganja trade in the district.