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Ex-Naxal commander, now a cop, casts her first vote in Chhattisgarh polls

Five years ago, prior to December, Ms. Sahu wore brownish-green fatigue and bore arms as an active commander of the Aamdai Area Committee of Maoists in Narayanpur.

By: Team Pardaphash  Pardaphash Group
Updated:
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Ex-Naxal commander, now a cop, casts her first vote in Chhattisgarh polls

In Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur constituency, voters patiently queued outside a polling station during the state assembly polls. Among them was Constable Sumitra Sahu, who had been a former Naxal commander and now had the opportunity to vote for the first time since her life took a different path in December 2018. Ms. Sahu had once worn the brownish-green fatigue and carried a gun as an active commander of the Aamdai Area Committee of Maoists in Narayanpur.

Despite Naxalite threats, the first phase of the state assembly elections for 20 constituencies proceeded with a provisional turnout of around 71 percent. Ms. Sahu, who joined the police force in January 2019, expressed her happiness at casting her vote.

Having previously been a member of the Chetna Natya Mandli, a cultural wing of the outlawed CPI (Maoists), Ms. Sahu was involved in spreading Naxalite propaganda during various elections. However, after several of her colleagues were killed in encounters with the police and a police camp was established in her village, she left the Naxal movement in December 2018 and later joined the police force, initially serving as a ‘gopniya sainik’ (secret trooper) before becoming a constable.

In the Bastar division, residents of 126 villages celebrated as polling stations were set up for the first time since Independence in seven Left Wing Extremist (LWE) affected districts.

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