Disillusioned with the violent ideology preached by the Maoists, at least five ultras in Jharkhand have surrendered before the police last week to join the mainstream, a top police official said.
"Several people (extremists) have approached us. They want to meet us. We have encouraged them and are hopeful of a positive result. We expect them to surrender very soon," the Director-General of Police, Neyaz Ahmed, said.
Rajdeo Yadav a self-styled 'Zonal Commander' of the CPI (Maoist) surrendered before the Jharkhand police in Palamau last Wednesday after being disappointed with the anti-democratic ways of the outfit which he followed blindly for 15 years.
Just a day earlier, 18-year-old Lalmuni, alias Namita, found an opportunity to flee from the organisation's women's armed guerrilla squad and turned in at Ramgarh, saying she hated the extremist ideology professed by the Maoists.
Three other Naxalites did the same -- all within a week -- and Jharkhand police now expects an "exodus" from various Naxal outfits to join the democratic mainstream, Ahmed said.
The police claims that the latest development has rattled the CPI (Maoist) leadership and it believes the surrenders are taking place due to pressure of stepped up anti-Naxal operation, growing disenchantment of villagers whose support is vital for the organisation and bickering in its ranks.
The loss of clout by the Maoists at the villages came to the fore when residents of a village on the border between Ranchi and Khunti districts in early July pledged that they would defy diktats of the Maoists and would not be deterred by the dreaded Maoist Kundan Pahan, believed to be the mastermind in beheading Special Branch officer Francis Induwar.
"At least in two places the Maoists are being confronted by internal squabbles and the people are disillusioned with them. Now several of them want to join the democratic mainstream," Ahmed claimed.
The DGP appealed to the people to avail of the several developmental packages in the Naxal-infested districts.
"Besides infrastructural development, there is an employment package -- self-employment and general employment. Wherever necessary, we can train them to get employment," the DGP said.
He also said the police was prepared to conduct panchayat polls peacefully when the local elections were expected to be held by the year-end.
Panchayat bodies were important for development in rural areas and funds ranging from Rs 2,000 crore to Rs 2,500 crore ended up being unused and thereafter lapsing every year in the absence of elected local bodies, he said.
The DGP said anti-Naxal operations would continue based on specific intelligence inputs. "We had formal discussion with the Chhatisgarh police and informal talk with my Bihar counterpart (on joint operations). We had joint operations along with Bengal police while Orissa has problem with shortage of force."