As many as 650 active Maoist supporters -- residents of villages along the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border -- surrendered before the police, a senior officer here said.
Most of them are members of local village committees or Chetana Natya Mandali – a cultural outfit linked to CPI(Maoist) – in Swabhiman Anchal of Malkangiri district, once a Red corridor that lay cut-off from mainland Odisha, the police officer said.
"The surrendered Maoist supporters hail from remote villages of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. The supporters used to assist the cadres of the banned outfit in carrying out attacks on security forces and civilians, besides other violent activities," said Rajesh Pandit, DIG (south-western range).
Raising slogans such as "Maobadi Murdabad, Ama Sarkar Jindabad", the sympathisers burnt Maoist literature, effigies, and uniforms worn by cadres of the banned outfit before surrendering on Saturday.
The Swabhiman Anchal, comprising 182 villages, is experiencing a "quick turnaround", with the initiation of several development projects in the region.
"The construction of Gurupriya bridge, joining the region with mainland Odisha, has helped bring about developmental changes in these Malkangiri villages. People now have access to electricity, drinking water and other basic amenities," district SP Nitesh Wadhwani said.
Medical facilities and mobile network are also available in these villages, he said "Many locals have now taken to pisciculture to earn their livelihood," he added.
Earlier in the year, too, hundreds of Maoist supporters in Swabhiman Anchal had surrendered before the police. "Many more are considering 'ghar wapsi' in the near future," the SP added.
-With PTI Input