VISAKHAPATNAM: The Covi-19 pandemic has reportedly impacted Maoists as its cadre and some leaders have reportedly fallen sick, particularly in the second wave, as more corona cases were reported in the Agency areas than the first wave.It seems the voluntary lockdown enforced by most of the villages in Agency areas to check the spread of corona also affected the movement of Maoists who are getting exposed while trying to get treatment. Even district police then made an appeal to sick Maoists to surrender so that they will ensure good treatment. However, none of them responded to the appeal.
Meanwhile, the security forces stepped up combing operations during the pandemic particularly in Koyyuru, Pedabayalu, Chintapalle, Munchingput and Rampachodavaram areas. The security forces are trying to gain upper hand by checking movement of Maoists from Odisha to Chhattisgarh and Telangana via AOB area in the district. Now, there are no more safe zones in the AOB area for the Maoists with enhanced combing operations in Andhra and Odisha borders. The security forces are focussing on strongholds of Maoists and want to seal all their routes to restrict movement of extremists.
Reports suggest that many Maoist cadre were affected by Covid-19 and seasonal fevers, forcing them to remain low-profile. Maoists may be down but they are not out, sources said. They said the security forces could deal a severe blow on the Maoists during the Ramuguda encounter. However, to keep the extremist organisation afloat, its leadership has been focusing on recruitment of new cadre though their plans were affected due to spurt in corona cases.
Meanwhile, the police made a fresh appeal to the Maoists to surrender and promised to extend all benefits as per the existing policy. The police even as continuing the combing operations are conducting more outreach programmes in the Agency villages to wean them away from the influence of Maoists. As a part of outreach programmes, they conducted medical camps, restored damaged roads to hamlets and organised sports and awareness camps for tribal youths. They even conducted exchange programmes for the youth. Sources said the outreach programmes are yielding desired results as more and more tribal people are now supporting development and welfare programmes of the government in the Agency areas