NEW DELHI: Several local people in Dantewada, Sukma, and other parts of Bastar, Chhattisgarh, took up arms to join Naxalism, which claims to be fighting against injustices encountered by their families and friends in society. However, numerous Naxals at the time gradually realised that “guns and bloodshed” were not the answer to fight injustice. They are slowly returning to their normal lives and are now serving the state to fight against Naxalism.
The Sunday Guardian spoke with numerous surrendered Naxals from Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada and Sukma regions to learn about their experiences throughout the years. The majority of them succumbed and realised that Maoism and Naxalism’s theory made no sense. They have been devastated by the lack of assistance from the party’s higher authorities, and several of them have limited chances of survival if they continue to serve the Naxals.
At the age of 16, Sori Muya joined the Naxals, hoping to bring some changes to society. At the age of 33, he decided to surrender and is now serving as a constable at the Sukma Police Station. He left his village, Murtonda, a long time ago and is currently living a contented life with his wife and children.
“During my Naxal days, we used to conduct meetings in several villages where we taught people about our culture and how the government has been looting the public. I used to work as a military commander, and I spent my time collecting money and rations from the villages and attempting to resolve problems in the communities. We have heard that many women underwent sexual violence in the group. There are couples in Naxal groups who wish to marry but are unable to do so because the group’s leaders refuse to allow their cadres to marry for many reasons,” Sori told this paper.
He used to look into several ways to improvise communication in the jungles. The majority of them have been using walkie-talkies, and communication amongst the cadres has improved recently. The procurement of walkie-talkies by the Naxals has surged. Speaking of surrendering to the police, he admitted, “I chose my family above the Naxals and left the path. The Naxals also tried to convince me to join them again. My brother is still a Naxal, but I have parted ways with him.”
Similarly, Hariram Mandavi, otherwise known as Raju Midkom, is from Katekalyan, Surnar of Dantewada district. He joined Naxals at the age of 25 years in 2013. He served as a commander in the group and worked on strengthening the organisation from the inside. However, after serving for several years, he surrendered in 2019 due to a lack of development in the group and society. “I was threatened by the Naxals and my family was threatened by the Naxals and asked to leave the village. However. we have been able to manage our lives somehow,” Mandavi told this paper.
Likewise, Munna Karti, who used to serve as the Kamaloor Local Organisation Squad (LOS), in the Munder village of Chhattisgarh, surrendered in 2016. “We are nine members in our family. There was also no assistance from the higher authorities of Naxals, my children were not getting admission to the schools as the senior officials of our leader were not allowed to make Aadhar cards. Now that I have surrendered, I get a basic wage and I have been able to feed my family on time. My children are also going to school,” he said. In Bastar, there are still a number of untold stories. The majority of villagers are stuck in the middle of the tussle between CRPF forces and the Naxals.