A total of 26 Naxalites, including five women and three teens, surrendered on Monday in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada, which is part of Bastar Lok Sabha seat that will go to polls on April 19, a senior police official said.

Of these, Joga Muchaki was head of 'Korajguda Panchayat janatana sarkar' of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoists) and had a bounty of Rs 1 lakh on his head, Dantewada Superintendent of Police Gaurav Rai said.

"They laid down arms in front of police and CRPF officials. They were part of Kistaram, Bhairamgarh, Malangir and Katekalyan area committees of the Maoists in south Bastar. They said they were impressed by the police's rehabilitation drive 'Lon Varratu' and disappointed with the hollow Maoist ideology," Rai said.

"These cadres were tasked with digging roads, felling trees to block roads and putting up posters and banners during shutdowns called by the Naxalites. They will be provided facilities as per the government's surrender and rehabilitation policy," the SP added.

The 26 persons included five women as well as two girls and a boy, all three aged 17 years, as per police.

With this, 717 Naxalites, including 176 of them carrying cash reward on their heads, have so far joined the mainstream in the district under the police's 'Lon Varratu' (return to your home/village) campaign launched in June 2020, officials said.

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