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Maoism to mainstream: A surrender gone wrong
Published on 12 Jul. 2009 11:28 PM IST
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: It was a sweet surrender for Kandiri Lohar of Orissa four years ago. Away from the life of a Maoist rebel, towards marital bliss, a job, land and a life of respectability. Then the dream evaporated and all that was left was domestic violence and official assurances. Having been a Maoist for a year, Kandiri decided to leave her past behind and find a life in the mainstream with the help of the state government. “I thought once I leave my Maoist past behind I would be in peace and I will lead a happy life. The promises from the district administration were quite reassuring when I surrendered,” Kandiri told IANS. Her surrender was hailed as an achievement by the district police. A match was also arranged for Kandiri. She was married to Sankar Lohar of Bandhamunda in Sundargarh district in the presence of then superintendent of police Jaswant Singh Jethwa, who gave various official assurances. “I was assured of Rs.50,000, land and a job for my husband at the time of my marriage. But four years later I am still waiting,” 22-year-old Kandiri said. Her dreams were soon shattered after her wedding as she had to endure abuse from her in-laws and marital violence. “My husband turned out to be a drunkard. He used to come home drunk every day and used to beat me,” she said. After being thrown out of her in-laws’ house she returned with her three-year-old son to her father’s house and has been struggling to make both ends meet. A few days ago she met the district officials and asked them to honour the promises made to her four years ago. Although officials consider Kandiri’s a fit case for rehabilitation, she is yet to get any relief. “She is a right candidate for rehabilitation. A couple of days ago she met me. We are looking into her grievances and would address them as soon as possible,” Superintendent of Police (Rourkela) Diptesh Pattnaik told IANS. The state government has announced a rehabilitation package for those Maoists who want to surrender which includes a cash award of Rs.10,000 to meet immediate needs. Those who surrender with arms will be eligible for additional award. There is also a provision for loans if the Maoist who surrenders wants to start some venture. “There is a provision of cash award from the police. I know she had surrendered before the former SP but I was not there when she surrendered. I don’t have any idea about the assurances made to her,” Deputy Superintendent of Police (Home Guard) Suresh Pathy said. Kandiri is once again living on hope and more assurances as she has been promised a job as a Home Guard member. “I can’t say how soon she would be absorbed in the job but it will happen,” Pattnaik said. Based on her complaint to the police, Kandiri’s husband has been taken into custody. After her story was highlighted in the media, the administration has once again come forward with the ‘assurance’ of giving her a house under the Indira Awas Yojana. “She met me a couple of days ago. I have directed the block development officer of Birsha to grant her an Indira Awas house,” Additional District Magistrate (Sundargarh) Sushil Das told IANS. While Kandiri awaits fulfilment of the promises from the district administration, she is regretting her decision to return to the mainstream. “I have gone through a lot of sorrow. I regret choosing this life. I was leading a respectful life with my Maoist ‘Dalam’ (squad). But here it is a life of thorns,” Kandiri said. There are others like Kandiri, who surrendered before the police based on assurances but have been running from pillar to post to get their due. Puspika Tirkey of Mendiakani village in Deogarh district surrendered with arms in 2008 and she too was given many assurances. “When I surrendered, I was assured many things, such as a rehabilitation package and Rs.25,000. But nothing has materialised so far,” said Tirkey who is currently lodged in Narikarabash (women’s jail) of Sambalpur along with three other Maoists who had surrendered.

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