This Article is From Mar 09, 2012

Woman Maoist leader surrenders

Kolkata: Close Kishenji aide Suchitra Mahato, who had escaped after the Maoist topgun was killed last year, today surrendered with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claiming the injured ultra responded to her government's "offer of peace".

An injured Suchitra had fled following the killing of Kishenji by the joint forces on November 24 at Burisole jungle.

"This is a big achievement for both the government and my brothers and sisters (Maoists)," said Banerjee, flanked by Mahato and her new husband Prabir Garai.

She said that Suchitra surrendered to the Intelligence branch before meeting her at Writers' Buildings.

"Suchitra is injured and requires treatment. She has come to surrender with her newly-married husband responding to the government's offer of peace," Banerjee said, renewing her appeal to Maoists to abjure violence and surrender.

Suchitra was earlier married to Maoist leader Sashadhar Mahato, who was killed in an encounter with the joint forces in West Midnapore district on March 10 last year.

Her surrender followed that of dreaded Maoist woman leader Jagori Baske on November 17. Baske, who was wanted for the killing of police officer Partha Biswas and his school teacher friend Saumyajit Basu in Purulia in 2010, had surrendered with her husband Rajaram Soren and son Bahadur Soren.

In a brief comment on Kishenji's killing, Banerjee said, "It is not that we were instrumental in the killing of Kishenji. It happened in the course of events. This happens at times. I was away in Delhi. Any death is unfortunate."

Noting that Suchitra had received wounds in the waist during the November encounter, Ms Banerjee said, "She requires good treatment. It will be taken care of."

Describing her surrender as a gift on the occasion of Holi, the chief minister said it was heartening that Maoists were returning to the mainstream.

"I appeal to those still holding arms to surrender and return to the mainstream. We are proud that brothers and sisters of the Maoist party are surrendering."

She said that Maoists might have grievances. "But they should inform us. In a democracy they may have their own views. I may be a supporter of an ism and another may be supporter of another ism."

Noting that the government would provide a package to surrendered Maoists, she said that Centre would be informed of Suchitra's surrender.

She also wished Suchitra a happy married life and said "we want to make Bengal an ideal peace model."