RAIPUR: Maoists are facing a crisis, specially disruption of supplies, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and also suffered "huge causalities" during an encounter with security forces in Sukma district in March, an official said citing Naxal documents seized by Chhattisgarh Police.
Cashing-in on the situation, security forces have stepped up anti-Naxal operations in strongholds of ultras in the state's Bastar division, Inspector General of Police (Bastar range) Sundarraj P said Sunday.
These documents, including some letters written by cadres, were recovered by a joint team of security forces following an exchange of fire with Naxals in a forest near Entapad village of Sukma on September 8, he said.
The gunfight lasted for about half-an-hour after which Naxals escaped into the dense forest leaving behind their bags, documents and other camping material, he said.
"An analysis of the recovered documents has revealed that Maoists have been experiencing tremendous hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic following the lockdown imposed in March this year," the official said.
They have been facing an acute shortage of provisions and their supply networks have been chocked due to round-the- clock checking by security forces along the inter-state and inter-district borders, and regular patrolling, he said.
Arrangements of medicines and ration has been the main concern for rebels during this period, he said.
"We were well aware of the situation and now the documents have confirmed that Maoists are in deep crisis during the ongoing phase," the official said.
He further said that translation of a letter, written in local Gondi dialect by a subordinate to a senior cadre of south Bastar division, disclosed that Maoists lost their 23 cadres during the encounter at Minpa in Sukma district on March 21 this year.
During the gun battle, 17 personnel of the District Reserve Guard and the Special Task Force were killed.
The official said Maoists had then issued a press release, admitting death of only three operatives of its People's Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) battalion no.01, headed by Naxal commander Hidma.
"However, we had intelligence inputs that more than 25 Maoists were killed in that encounter," he said.
In order to keep up the morale of their lower-rung cadres, Maoists normally do not disclose details about the huge casualties they suffer during face-off with security forces, he said.
"We are closely monitoring the situation and carrying out operations in Maoists' strongholds in the interiors of Bastar division," the official added.