Chhattisgarh: BJP MLA & 4 Security Personnel Killed In Naxalite Attack Ahead Of Elections
Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Bhima Mandavi and four personnel of the Chhattisgarh police were killed on April 9, Tuesday after their convoy was attacked by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district. The attack came just 36 hours before the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections begins in the state.
An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was used by Naxals to blow up the vehicle. The attack took place around 4:45 pm between Kuakonta and Shyamgiri hills when they were coming back in their bullet-proof SUV after electioneering on Tuesday, as it was the last day of campaigning in the Bastar Lok Sabha seat. SP Abhishek Pallava told the media that the MLA, Bhima Mandavi was warned about the route suspected to be heavily mined, but he was negligent. The News18 report said that the police had asked political convoys to the main road, however, this group took a short cut to save time on the last day of campaigning.
DGP DM Awasthi said that the contingent of 50 District Reserve Guard (DRG) personnel from Dantewada had accompanied Mandavi on motorcycles to Netapur, Metapal, Tannenar and then finally to Dantewada BJP office, but Mandavi asked DRG security in charge to return after his campaign ended. Sheeladitya Singh, the town inspector of Bacheli Police Station advised him not to take Kuakonda road without security, but he proceeded nonetheless, reports Times of India.
According to The Times Of India, before the day of the attack, the Maoists circulated posters in the region asking people not only to boycott the polls but also support banned Kashmiri militant group JKLF headed by Yasin Malik.
A reinforcement party of CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) also rushed to the spot. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, Bhupesh Bhagel called for a high-level meeting in Raipur after the attack. He said, “Our government was trying to win the trust of the tribal public, but in desperation, the Naxals executed this horrendous crime. We conducted a meeting of officials and reiterated, ‘Naxalon ki har ek goli ka jawaab unhi ki bhasha mein diya jaaye. (Every Naxal attack will be answered back in the language they use)’.”
Four BSF personnel were killed and two others were injured in an encounter with Maoists in Kanker district on April 4.
Many politicians including Prime Minister Narendra Modi have condemned the attack.
The killed security personnel are identified as jawans Chhagan Kuldeep, Somdu Kawasi and Ramlal Oyami and driver Danteshwar Maurya. The Election Commission has said that the first phase of polling will be conducted according to the schedule in Chhattisgarh. As per reports by The Hindu, a security blanket of over 80,000 personnel, and drones has been set up in and around the Bastar region for the first phase of elections being held in the state on April 11.