Bhubaneswar: Maoists are fast losing their grip over Malkangiri district, once considered their stronghold. In the last one month, 1,275 Red sympathizers in the district have joined the mainstream.
Among the surrendered sympathizers are village committee members, members of Chetana Natya Mandali, the cultural wing of the ultras, and members of Andhra Odisha Zonal Committee Division of the outlawed CPI (Maoist). “It indicates that the Maoist writ does not run in Malkangiri anymore,” said a police officer.
In the latest surrender, 244 people withdrew support from the ultras on Tuesday. They promised to cooperate with administration in expediting development works. “They are coming forward to support us. They are airing their grievances as they have lost faith in the Left-wing extremists,” said collector (Malkangiri) D Prashant Kumar Reddy.
Police officers are taking it as a positive development. “With villagers, who used to support the extremists surrendering, security scenario in Malkangiri district will improve. We will ensure that they don’t return to the Maoist fold again,” said DIG (Koraput) S Shyni.
The spree started on March 5 with 225 villagers surrendering. In a shot in the arm of security forces, 57 sympathizers, including 11 militia and two village committee members, surrendered on March 13. The day after, their number swelled to 117, including 34 women and 14 militia members.
“If this continues, the Maoists will lose their base in the district, which witnessed a number of casualties in rebel ambushes over the years,” said the officer.