Sixty-two alleged Maoists surrendered before the security forces in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday, PTI reported, quoting a police officer. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh described the surrender as a “huge achievement”. He said the state government’s surrender policy had succeeded and was pushing Maoists away from the path of violence.

Bastar Inspector General of Police Vivekanand Sinha said that 55 of the 62 alleged Maoists had surrendered with their arms and ammunition in Narayanpur district.

“These surrenders clearly indicate that the Chhattisgarh government is effectively pursuing a surrender and rehabilitation policy for LWE [Left-Wing Extremism] operatives,” he tweeted. “This policy is yielding positive results and helping in positively changing the security environment of Chhattisgarh in a big way.”

He added: “I hope that the other LWE [Left-Wing Extremism] operatives will also abjure violence and join the mainstream.”

The surrenders came days before the Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, to be held in two phases – on November 12 for 18 constituencies and on November 20 for 72 seats. Most of the seats in the first phase are located in Bastar district, the epicentre of the state’s Maoist insurgency.