A senior police officer has said it is likely that 200 naxals might have contracted the coronavirus infection.
The coronavirus infection has now spread its tentacles in the outskirts of Chhattisgarh, including the Maoist strongholds.
SP Dantewada Abhishek Pallava has claimed that several Maoists have already been infected with COVID-19 and have spread the disease among their cadres. Reports also suggest 10 among them may have died from the infection.
The senior police officer also said it is likely that 200 naxals might have contracted the coronavirus infection. “Thus, we appealed them to surrender in context of their deteriorating health conditions and in the interest of tribal villagers,” he added.
He also said that the police will provide them full medication and help them recover and rehabilitate.
The movement and mixing with the rural tribal inhabitants living in the outskirts may risk the lives of innocent tribal villagers and worsen the situation, the SP said.
Moreover, the Bastar Police claimed that around 10 members of the banned CPI-Maoist group passed away due to COVID-19 infection in the last few weeks. Now, the infection has started spreading speedily among the naxals.
As per media reports, the police has claimed that locals have informed them that naxals burnt bodies of at least ten deceased colleagues in the forest along the border of Bijapur and Sukma districts on Monday night. The cause of death could either be COVID-19 or food poisoning, the police is reported to have said.
SP Dantewada said, as per information received by them, that around 500 naxals had gathered in the Pedia area of the Gangalur police station limits, where they consumed expired medicines and expired food products leading to mass food poisoning.
The Seized Letter
A team of security forces also seized a huge cache of daily use items, including a letter, in a raid conducted on a Maoists camp in the jungles of Palnar under limits of Gangulur police station, Bijapur. Sundarraj P, Inspector General (IG) of Bastar Police, said on Tuesday.
The letter was written to a senior Maoist leader in which it was mentioned that several PLGA members, including top cadres, had fallen sick. The leader said he was worried about others contracting the (unnamed) illness and requested the senior Maoist leader to keep herself safe and take the matter up seriously.
“If we stay alive, only then can we carry the revolution forward,” the letter said.
Even though the letter does not say the illness is COVID, senior police officials believe that it is in fact the virus that has spread among the Maoists in Bastar.
IG Sundarraj told The Indian Express: “We have corroborating field inputs regarding the same”.
It includes the names of all the 10 Maoists cadres who died due to the illness as well. Sundarraj said, “We are trying to ascertain their identities.”
More Claims & Details
To save their lives, several Maoists also quit the organisation and translocated themselves. We are trying to identify them, the IG added.
Meanwhile, IG Bastar alleged that top Maoists are misleading tribal villagers and small cadres as they did last year, and that may lead to a catastrophe in Bastar.
Two days ago, it was also rumoured that 100 Maoists of Darbha division got infected of COVID-19 and several of them got infected with the deadly Andhra strain.
Naxals are also alleged to have looted COVID-19 related medicines and vaccines from Konta and Dornapal areas of Sukma. However, they have not issued any clarifications over these allegations yet