KOLKATA: In a major blow to the Communist Party of India (Maoist), the party’s Bengal-Jharkhand-Odisha border commander Ranjit Pal and his wife Jharna Giri surrendered to the Special Task Force of Kolkata Police on Wednesday.
The most wanted Maoist leader and his wife said their reasons for picking up arms have been resolved by the Mamata Banerjee government and that poor health and necessity to look after ailing parents pushed them to lay down arms.
Speaking to media at a presser on Wednesday, the Maoist leader said:”I apologise to all the people who had to lose their lives due to my 17-year-long association with Maoists. I have understood that it is not possible to look after wife, children and old parents as a rebel. The reasons for which we picked up arms are being resolved by the current State government in West Bengal. I urge all youths who have taken the Maoist path to return to mainstream.”
A native of Barikul in Bankura district, Ranjit Pal was the most wanted Maoist leader in Bengal after Kishenji, who was killed in 2011, and Bikram, the IIT Kharagpur dropout who surrendered in 2012. However, he evaded questions on the association of Maoists with Nandigram agitation or controversy of fake encounter of Telangana native Malloujula Koteswara Rao alias Kishenji.
Ajodhya Hills area Committee commander, Nandigram native and Ranjit’s wife Jharna Giri said,”I joined the movement during the peak of Nandigram movement ten years ago. However, I have realised that solution to problems through armed movement is impossible.”
As a gesture, Ranjit Pal handed over his Self Loading Rifle (SLR) to state DGP Surajit Kar Purakayastha. The Bengal DGP said that over 290 Maoists have surrendered in the state over the past two years.