The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Naxalite sceptics give up guns

Midnapore, Sept. 10: In a new chapter of the police-Naxalite faceoff in West Midnapore, 10 members of the People’s War and the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) surrendered in Jhargram yesterday.

District superintendent of police K.C. Meena today said there were four “important” People’s War leaders among those arrested. The 10 rebels laid down their arms at Belpahari police station.

They were paraded before the media at the superintendent’s office here this afternoon. They were even allowed to talk to waiting newsmen before being led away to the lock-up.

“We have realised the mistake that we have made by resorting to this type of politics. We are now desperate to come back to the mainstream,” said Dhiren Singh Sardar, a People’s War leader.

Others who threw in their towels with Sardar were Bharat Mura, Manoj Kalindi, Tarapada Bauri, Dhiren Sardar, Shambhu Sardar, Sunil Mahato, Bijoy Sardar, Sagar Bhumij and Gurupada Sardar.

“Educated people came from Calcutta and talked about local problems and we got encouraged to follow their path. But when they resorted to armed conflict, we did not like it…When we protested, we were branded as informers,” Sardar said.

The district police will begin legal proceedings against the surrendered rebels and at the same time provide sustenance to their families.

“If need be, we will help their families secure bank loans so that they can begin small businesses,” Meena said.

Pleased with the developments, the police feel that the trend will continue and both the People’s War and the Maoist Communist Centre will lose ground in the district. The district CPM, too, feels that the surrenders were result of the party’s campaign to wean away people from Naxalite politics.

Meena said the surrendered rebels include the main accused in the murders of two CPM big wigs and a Jharkhand Party leader. Ramapada Majhi, CPM local committee member of adjacent Bankura’s Ranibandh, CPM leader of Belpahari Sudhir Singh Sardar and Jharkhand Party’s Anil Mahato were murdered by alleged Naxalite rebels last year.

Meena claimed that with yesterday’s development, three of the six armed People’s War “squads” in the district were eliminated.

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