Around seven to eight Maoist cadres have so far succumbed to Covid-19 and 15 to 20 are seriously ill, according to a letter seized from a Communist Party of India (Maoist).
The letter was seized during an operation in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur, said Bastar inspector General Sundarraj P on Tuesday.
"During an operation in Bijapur today, a letter written by a cadre of CPI (Maoist) to a senior leader was seized. The letter mentions that 7-8 cadres have died of Covid-19 and around 15-20 others are seriously ill," Sundarraj informed.
"We have information that some Naxals left the cadre due to fear of contracting Covid-19," he added.
Prior to this, the Dantewada Police had appealed to top Maoist leaders and their cadets, who are reportedly suffering from Covid infection and food poisoning in the district, to surrender and get access to free medical treatment.
"From credible sources, we get information that the top Maoist leaders are suffering from food poisoning and Covid. Leaders like Sujata, a member of Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC), who is carrying a bounty of ₹25 lakh, have severe Covid infections. Sujata is having breathing difficulties and cannot move," Dantewada Superintendent of Police Abhishek Pallav told news agency ANI.
Pallav said the Maoists are putting their lives at risk by not getting treatment and they also cause potential harm to villagers by spreading the infection.
"There are several others and their team members who are affected badly by the disease. They are suffering food poisoning due to consumption of expired food. I appeal to Maoist leaders to surrender and get treatment."
He said the Chhattisgarh Police will make arrangements for their treatment. "Otherwise, they are putting their lives at risk due to the infection."
Coronavirus cases have been on the rise in Chhattisgarh. As many as 9,717 new cases, 199 deaths and 12,440 discharges were reported in the state on Tuesday