Maoists confirm two senior leaders died of COVID-19
The Telangana state committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) has formally accepted that key Maoist leader Haribhushan alias Yapa Narayana as well as a senior woman leader Siddaboina Sarakka alias Bharatakka have died of COVID-19 infection.
The two deaths were admitted through a press release issued by the Telangana state committee on Thursday, Bastar inspector general of police (IG) Sundarraj P. told THE WEEK.
While Haribhushan—a central committee member of CPI (Maoist) had succumbed on June 21, Bharatakka—an Indravati area committee member—died on June 22, the Maoists’ press release mentioned. Their last rites were conducted in the presence of people and a meeting in their memory was held June 22, the note in Telugu said.
The Bastar IG had on Wednesday has issued a statement on the death of Haribhushan, who carried a reward of Rs 40 lakhs, on basis of "confirmed sources". The key Maoist leader had been camping along the Minaguram-Bhattigudam-Jabagatta jungles on the South Bijapur-Sukma border of the Bastar region during his illness.
On Thursday, Sundarraj said that this is the first time that the Maoist organization has formally accepted deaths of leaders due to COVID-19 infection. All this time, the organization had been spreading false and misleading information on COVID-19 infection.
The IG said that the pandemic situation in Naxal camps is alarming and serious in nature and at least now the senior Maoist cadres should give real information to the local public and their own cadres.
He added that Bastar Police have received information that People’s Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) Battalion No. 01 Commander Hidma and other senior Naxal cadres like Vinod, Sonu, Jaiman, Nandu etc are also infected with Corona. PLGA is the armed cadre of the CPI (Maoist). Efforts are on to confirm the information, he said.
Sundarraj has also requested the local residents to be aware of the COVID-19 situation in naxal camps and stay away from the meetings, rallies and other events being conducted by Naxals and their sympathizers.
He said that earlier in first fortnight of May, 2021, he had spoken about several Maoist cadres getting infected with COVID-19 and that few had died of infection. But CPI (Maoist) ridiculed this information through a hasty press release on May 25. In the death of the central committee member Haribhusan and senior Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKZSC) cadres Sobhrai, Ganga and Bharatakka the alarming COVID situation in Maosit camps stands exposed, the IG said.
He has again appealed to the Naxal cadres to accept the reality about COVID-19 situation in their camps, shun violence and surrender before the authorities so as to get treated for Corona related ailments.