RAIPUR: Security forces will not slow down their intensified anti-Maoist operations in the strife-torn zones even as the spiralling new Covid-19 cases forced all the 28 districts in Chhattisgarh to impose the lockdown.
The state police in Bastar reiterated that with the Maoists restricted to limited pockets in the affected districts, the forces will continue with their operation as the Maoists attempt to upgrade their annual Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) that usually begins from March-April onwards and continues till mid-June. As many 14 of the 28 districts in Chhattisgarh have been battling left-wing extremism.
During the TCOC, the left-wing guerrillas aim to regain their military strength, infuse confidence among their cadres, recruit new cadres and simultaneously mount pressure on security forces.
"The coronavirus pandemic or lockdown do not have any bearing on the anti-Maoist operation, and it's going to be a continuous process. The security forces had made gains in the previous year even when the pandemic started. New base camps were opened and the forces evidently dominated more areas that were believed to be the rebels' stronghold," said Sunderraj P, inspector general of police (Bastar zone).
In the wake of the alarming Covid-19 spike in Chhattisgarh, the IG said that they remain watchful for the jawans whose safety remains paramount.
An advisory has been issued to every security camp insisting on strict adherence to Covid norms. And Covid appropriate behavioural norms too have been put in place to eliminate the potential threat of the coronavirus infection.
"So far over 92 percent of the personnel have already received the Covid-19 vaccine jabs. Whether in the camps or on the field, the Covid-19 guidelines have equally become part of the adopted practice and awareness for the forces in Bastar zone. Those returning from leave are kept under observation in the isolation ward and allowed to join or mingle only after an assured negative report," Sunderraj said.
In every security camp, besides the routine sanitisation, an isolation barrack has been created. If any jawan is found to have even mild symptomatic infections, the test is immediately conducted.
"Those who test positive are shifted to Covid care centre," the Bastar IG added.