When the Pune police briefed the media regarding the evidence collected by them about Maoists-sympathiser activists that they have detained, they revealed about a letter by one Maoist comrade to another, where the requirement of funds of ₹8 crore for annual supply of grenade launchers was mentioned. Police also mentioned the name of Varavara Rao as the authorized personnel by the central committee of the Maoists with regards to procurement of the weapons which include but not limited to Russian GM-94 Grenade launcher, Chinese QLZ-87 Automatic grenade launcher and American M60 Light machine gun.
It is no secret that in several ambushes they have done on security forces, the Maoists have used grenade launchers. Plus, launchers of various type are regularly recovered by police from Maoist extremists. Lets have a look on some of such recoveries.
In September 2006, Andhra Pradesh police had recovered 27 rocket launchers, along with 875 rockers and 70 gelatine sticks belonging to CPI-Maoist party in two different places. The rockets and launchers were found to be manufactured in several lathe workshops and foundries in the Chennai suburbs of Tamil Nadu. According to police, a Maoist ‘technical wing’ member had convinced those companies to accept small manufacturing orders.
In October 2006, 21 rocket launchers were recovered from a dump of CPI (Maoist) party in Andhra Pradesh. Police also found 25 mortars and 600 kg of explosive material in the dump.
In November 2009, police seized two powerful rocket launchers along with other arms and ammunition in West Midnapore, West Bengal. According to police, the rocket launchers were improvised ones, made from iron pipes with 4-5 inch diameter.
In March 2010, Andhra Pradesh police recovered several rocket launchers and 3000 hand grenades while conducting raids in West Godavari district. Police had also arrested few Maoist leaders in the raid, which was conducted on the basis of documents recovered from two top Maoist leaders, who were killed in a shootout.
In June 2011, police had recovered two U.S.-made grenade launchers near Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Jharkhand. The launchers were meant to be supplied to Maoists by two persons but police nabbed them along with the weapons. The launchers had a range of 150-350 meters and it fired 40 mm fragmentation grenade.
In June 2015, three improvised rocket launchers were seized from a dense forest in Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon district. The joint search operation by ITBP and district police were conducted based upon a specific input that weapons were hidden in the village forests.
In April 2018, eight Maoists were killed in an encounter in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh. In the arms and ammunition recovered from them included six rocket launchers.
In May this year, an Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL) was recovered from an encounter site with Maoists in Sukma district in Chhattisgarh, along with a German made G3 Heckler and Koch assault rifle.
This goes out to show that Maoists are not only procuring grenade launchers and snatching them from security forces, but they are also making them, which range from crude to high tech. In several instances police have found evidence of Maoists developing indigenous propellers and rocket launchers.