A 22-year-old Naxal carrying a reward of Rs 8 lakh on his head has surrendered in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district, police said on Tuesday. Kosa Markam turned himself in before Dantewada Superintendent of Police Abhishek Pallava on Monday, citing disappointment with the hollow Maoist ideology, they said.
Markam joined the outlawed outfit in 2014 as a member of its Bal Sangham, a children’s wing, in Dantewada and he was later shifted to north Bastar division of Maoists. He was currently active as a member of military company no.5 of Maoists, Pallava said.
He recently arrived at his home in Tetam village to meet his family members during which they informed him about the Lon Varratu campaign of local police and persuaded him to quit the banned outfit, he said. Under the Lon Varratu (term coined in local Gondi dialect which means return to your village/home) initiative, Dantewada police have been putting up posters and banners in the native villages of Naxals, who carry cash rewards on their head, and appealing them to return to the mainstream.
Markam was allegedly involved in several deadly attacks on security forces, including the 2018 Irpanar encounter in Narayanpur district where four police personnel were killed. He was also involved in the Maoist ambush in Partapur area of Kanker district last year in which four BSF personnel lost their lives, the official said, adding that he was carrying a reward of Rs 8 lakh on his head.
Markam was given an immediate assistance of Rs 10,000 and will be provided facilities as per the government’s surrender and rehabilitation policy, he said. Based on the inputs about location of ultras provided by Markam, the District Reserve Guard (DRG) personnel on Monday launched an operation in a hilly area between Telam and Tumakpal villages, he said.
However, on sensing the presence of a patrolling team, the rebels escaped into the dense forest. During a search of the spot, four improvised explosive devices (IEDs), five detonators, a walkie-talkie set and Maoist literature were recovered, the official said.
Since the ‘Lon Varratu’ drive was launched in June this year, 109 Naxals have so far surrendered in the district, he added.