Former Naxals’ Snack Shop Gives Them New Beginning, Read On

01 November 2019

Panchanan Dash

Malkangiri: The very word Naxal brings forth the ugly picture of anti-social elements that cause more harm than good to the people they are supposed to be protecting. This self-realisation has pushed many Naxalites to quit their dangerous lives and be a part of the mainstream.

Any Naxalite who surrenders is happily welcomed into the social fold and while they are felicitated, they are also given a sum of money so that they can start a new life.

OMMCOM NEWS spoke to three such former Naxalites who traded a scary life with a happy one. Not just that, they also set up a small business of their own using the aids provided and now are an inspiration for many others like them.

Bhima Madhi alias Rishi is the son of labourer parents based in Kuruba village of Padia block. Back in 2007 a group of Naxals once came to his village and asked one from each family to join them. Largely impressed by the Mao commander Sukhdev, he became a Naxal, says Rishi. He quickly rose through ranks and soon was wanted by the Police in more than 10 cases. By 2014, when Rishi surrendered to then ASP Akhilesh Singh, he even had Rs 4 lakh bounty on his head.

“But everything changed in 2013 Silakota Police-Naxal face-off where 13 Naxals were killed and I was saved by a nick. I realized this dangerous and meaningless life was not for me,” said Rishi.

At almost the same time another female Naxal Nangi Madhi too had surrendered. She was a part of ‘Gananatya Sangha’ who went from one village to another and spread the message of Naxalites through dance and music. She too had quit a life of hardships.

Both Bhima and Nangi met when after surrendering they were housed at District Police Headquarters, Malkangiri. The duo fell in love and were tied in the bond of marriage by the Police. They now have two kids and a happy family.

“With the financial aid of Rs 4 Lakh that we received from the Government, we built a house for us,” said Bhima and Nangi.

One Rama Madkami alias Dinesh became a Naxalite in 2007 and worked as a local gorilla scout. As his notoriety increased so did his rank. The only job of gorillas like Dinesh was to make the life difficult of Police by conducting repeated attacks on then. He was under the able leadership of dreaded Naxal Rakesh.

In 2014, Rakesh and his group came under the line of fire at Paknaguda of Bonda Ghati. Rakesh and several others were killed that day. This harsh reality forced Dinesh and his wife, also a Naxal, to surrender to have a better future for their only child. However, Dinesh’s wife had a paralytic attack and is under treatment in Malkangiri.

“We decided to invest a part of our financial aids and invest in a business to be independent,” said Rakesh.

The trio of Bhima, Nangi and Rakesh decided to set-up a tea shop. They sell hot savouries in the morning and switch to making fast food in the evening. The hands that wielded guns and killed innocents have now turned soft inside out.

“We regret every day for the wrongs we committed and are trying to do right now. We wish to educate our kids and give them the choice to be better human beings. We want them to become a teacher or a Police officer in future,” echoed the trio.

Bhima Madhi alias Rishi

Rama Madkami alias Dinesh