Bhubaneswar, Jan. 12: Thirty-four members of the Maoist-backed Chasi Muliya Adivasi Sangha, which had allegedly played a role in the kidnapping of BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka, today surrendered at Narayanpatna police station in Koraput district.
The activists today promised to abjure violence. Sources in the police said that there were no major cases of violence against them. The development, which is being considered significant in the context of area’s recent history of Maoist activities, comes 24 hours after the surrender of 14 Sangha supporters at the same police station.
Officer in charge of Narayanpatna police station Satyajit Mishra said that the activists who surrendered belonged to the village of Sangha chief Nachika Linga, who is on their list of the most wanted persons.
Linga, who continues to play hide and seek with the police, is spearheading a movement against the nontribal landlords of the area. Members of his outfit have seized nearly 200 acres of land belonging to these landlords in Narayanpatna and Badhugaon blocks.
Police officers said that the Sangha members had come under pressure following the arrest of some Maoist leaders who had earlier been backing their movement. Besides, they were also being deprived of the benefits of various development schemes meant for the poor and the tribals.
Sources said that more surrenders were likely in the area and this might further reduce the options left with Sangha’s fugitive leader, Linga. The police are closing in on him and he may be arrested any day, said a Sangha activist pointing out that on January 4, Samara, a Maoist and a close associate of Linga, had surrendered before Koraput superintendent of police Awinash Kumar.