Raipur: The Maoists in Chhattisgarh have said the root cause of the highly infectious Covid-19 disease, which has so far claimed the lives of over 1.7 lakh people, is not China, but the “imperialist” America.
In an open letter dated 13 April, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) has also called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “puppet” of US President Donald Trump.
The letter criticised the central government’s move to impose the nationwide lockdown, saying it has upended the lives of at least 10 crore migrant workers and daily wagers.
Police officers, however, said Maoists are “frustrated” as they are not getting their supplies of food and medicines due to the lockdown.
‘Destroy America to eliminate coronavirus’
In the open letter, the CPI(Maoist) said the “imperialist” US is responsible for the spread of Covid-19 worldwide, and that “destroying” America is the “only way” to eliminate the virus.
“Coronavirus has been created by imperialist countries like America. Destroying the imperialists is the only way to eliminate coronavirus,” it said.
“The US had used a nuclear bomb during the Second World War. Since then, it has continued to wage an unending war against humanity. The entire world knows that these imperialist forces are behind the creation of this super destructive weapon (coronavirus),” the CPI(Maoist) said.
They also condemned the Modi government’s decision to allow the export of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug used in some cases to treat Covid-19 patients, to the US.
“To fulfill the obligations under the US’ subjugation, India is not giving much attention to its own health status. Hydroxychloroquine drug that is being used as medicine for coronavirus is being sent to the US by the Modi government after an explicit threat by President Trump.”
Earlier this month, Trump had said if India didn’t allow the export of hydroxychloroquine to the US, as requested, there may be “retaliation”.
Ploy to keep up morale of cadres, says police
Asked about the CPI(M)’s open letter, a police officer engaged in anti-Maoist operations told ThePrint the Naxalites’ diminishing credibility and influence among the people are the main factors behind issuing the letter.
“It is well known that the grip and hold of the Naxal outfits has become very weak among the rural people of the Bastar region. The letter is nothing but a ploy to keep up the morale of their remaining armed cadres. Condemning the government has always been a part of their policy,” said Inspector General (IG), Bastar range, Sundarraj P.
The police officer, who is heading the anti-Naxal operations in the entire Bastar region, said had the Naxalites been genuinely benevolent towards the poor and the proletariat society, they would have never committed reckless killings of villagers.
Lockdown has hit food supply to Maoists
The police also said the nationwide lockdown has dealt a blow to the Maoists as they are not able to get their food and medicines as all inter-state borders are sealed.
The IG said the Maoists are suffering a lot due to increased security and vigilance in the urban areas, markets and on inter-state borders due to the lockdown. This has also made them frustrated, he said.
“Due to the nationwide lockdown, the Naxalites are not being able to ensure the supply of essential items. The Naxals ensure supply of their uniforms, medicines and about 50 per cent of their food items either from the local markets or from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.”
“But due to the lockdown, their access to these markets and efforts to procure the essential items from neighbouring states are completely blocked,” he added.
The IG said Maoists are not starving, but their “supply network has weakened due to the lockdown”.
“At present, they are fully dependent on food grains collected from the villagers. Supply of other items is almost zero,” he added.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.