The seemingly innocuous 250 boxes of protein powder that the Chhatisgarh Police seized from a man last week was to be delivered to top Maoist leaders who in turn were supposed to distribute it among cadres who would take part in a Tactical Offensive Counter Programme (TCOC) involving long periods of stay in forests. The protein dabbas were apprehended on the way from Mumbai to Chhattisgarh.
According to the police, one Ishwar Patel was apprehended when he was on his way to deliver the boxes to a Maoist camp in the Rajnandangaon district in Chhatisgarhon the border of Maharashtra. Initially the cops were flummoxed as to why Maoist cadres would need protein powder.
On Saturday however, they quoted intelligence reports to confirm that the powder was going to be used during the TCOC programme. Top Maoist leaders are expected to meet at this summit conference and distribute the powder to comrades taking part in the operation, which would involve living and walking through forest regions for days.
SP of Rajnandangaon Dr Sanjeev Shukla confirmed that they had seized the protein powder. “While interrogating a few surrendered Maoists, we found out about the transportation of protein powder and hence could seize the boxes while they were being transported,” said Shukla, adding: "These protein powder boxes are given to cadres in their military and artillery regiments, as they stay in the jungle for longer periods.”
Dilip D’souza an author who has worked in naxal-infested areas however, had a different take on the matter. “What if the powder was meant for common villagers? And even if it was for the Maoists, this is food not guns. It seems the Chhatisgarh government has become paranoid. This is not how the issue can or should be solved," he said.