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Maoists blame US for Covid-19, police say they are frustrated as supply network is hit

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File picture of Naxals at a jungle in Bastar
File picture of Naxals at a jungle in Bastar (representational image) | By special arrangement


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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.


Also read: Maoists kill 17 personnel in Sukma gun battle after ambushing large encounter team


‘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.


Also read: ‘100 Hindus’, said to be in Chhattisgarh Tablighi isolation list, complain of social boycott


 

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay


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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


 

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