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Rashmi Rekha Das

Once they were considered top armed rebels, but now they have created their new identities by renouncing violence. They have literally proved that it’s never too late to return to mainstream of the society and such is the story of former Maoists who surrendered and began their life inning afresh. Here we are presenting heartrending tales of such Maoists who have become example for society.

Meet couple Amar Mirdha and Arati Mirdha. Every morning their tiffin stall at Tamparasingh area in Sambalpur witnesses a huge rush of food lovers. Fried delights like bara and samosha prepared by them are a big hit among foodies. They eke out their living by selling samosa, bara and gupchup. 

But they were not into it. Once they were known as hardcore Maoists on Sambalpur-Deogarh-Sundargarh division. Gone are the days when they used to hold guns in their hands which they use now for making bara and samosa. In the year 2012, they had surrendered to the police to join the police mainstream following which they underwent imprisonment for three years. After being released from jail in 2015, they applied for loan and opened their tiffin stall. They are now leading a happy life with their two kids.

Sulochana Mirdha is another case in point. Known in the name of tailor master Gita now, Sulochana was once a red rebel then. She is now founder and owner of a tailoring institute. She used to known as Sulochana Gadnayak when she had not joined mainstream of the society. Those days are gone when she used to exchange fire and was being trained to handle explosives and guns. Her life changed after she decided to shun violence and give her life a second chance.  Once an area commander, now she is seen altering, repairing, or modifying garments for customers based on their specifications, needs, and preferences. Apart from carving a niche as a tailor, she provides free training to aspiring tailors.

Sources said in 2004 she joined naxal activities at the age of 14 after being influenced by Maoist leader Girish Mahato and subsequently became an area commander and a platoon commander. She fell in love with another Maoist Ganesh Mirdha and married him. Both the husband and wife were caught by police in 2007 and in 2011 respectively.  She did not go back to fellow rebels after being released by police and joined mainstream of the society.

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