New Delhi, Nov 29: 564 naxalites and their sympathisers have surrendered in the past one month. This is in fact a huge number and 70 per cent of the surrenders have been reported from Malkangiri district in Odisha.
Statistics would also show that since November 8, 469 naxalites have surrendered. There is a need to stress on November 8 since this was the day the Prime Minister announced that the Rs 500 and 1,000 notes will cease to be legal tender.
Why are naxalites surrendering in such large numbers?
There are various factors attached to the high number of surrenders that have taken place in the past 28 days.
Off late many naxalites have come out complaining that the ideology is hollow. The other factor is that there is rapid development taking place in the naxal belts as a result of which the villagers have fewer complaints. When villagers have fewer complaints, naxalites have no rallying point to get them on board and seek out local support.
Lastly the 469 surrenders of naxalites since November 8 could also be attributed to demonetisation. Let us rewind to last Friday when the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the naxalites were desperately trying to survive demonetisation.
While the fading ideology of the naxal movement is one major reason for several of them surrendering the other aspect is that there is a solid cash crunch as well. Only recently the police recovered a bag with Rs 500 and 1,000 notes amounting to Rs 42 lakh abandoned at the Kondagon district.
The naxalites had entered the village with the bag and threatened the villagers to get them exchanged. Howevever when the villagers refused to do so, they abandoned the bag and left.
This is just one known incident of naxal money going down the drain. A similar cash crunch is faced by them in other belts as well. An estimate would suggest that the naxalites have lost over Rs 1,000 crore following the decision to demonetise currency.
The maximum loss that has been incurred by them is in the Bastar region and estimates suggest that the amount is anywhere between Rs 400 to Rs 600 crore.