A BJP MLA and four others were killed in an IED attack in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada, hours before polling in first phase of the Lok Sabha election is to be held in the state. The Naxals attacked the BJP convoy at Shyamagiri hills when the BJP MLA from Dantewada Bheema Mandavi, was heading towards Kuwakonda from Bacheli area, which is nearly 450 km from Raipur. Three policemen and a driver were also killed in the IED attack.
Visuals from the blast site showed the mangled remains of the vehicle and a gaping hole on the road on which the BJP convoy passed before Naxals blew it up. The naxals used a remote control IED to blow up the SUV the MLA and others were travelling in.
Reliable sources have told India Today TV that Bheema Mandavi may have walked into the Naxal death trap by ignoring warnings by the local cops.
India Today has learnt that the BJP MLA may have walked into the Naxal death trap by ignoring warnings by the local cops. The state police had told all political leaders to comply with the Election Commission deadline of 3 pm considering this was a naxal-affected zone.
The MLA who was forewarned by the local police station, insisted on attending a weekly Bazaar in Shyamagiri to mingle with the locals. Sources said that this would have given the Naxals a tip off.
Just before the incident, Bheema Mandavi had said that “it was his area and he knew the people.” He is also said to have used a short cut while moving from Bacheli to Nakulnar. The BJP MLA left the Shyamagiri shortly after 4 pm.
Sources have also hinted that Malangir committee of Darbha Division of banned CPI (Maoist) could be behind the dastardly attack on the BJP convoy.
Speaking to mediapersons, Special DG (Anti-Naxal Ops) DM Awasthi said, “Bachheli PS Incharge had informed the BJP MLA that adequate security was not present on the route near Kuakonda and that he should not go there.”
Sources said that there were intelligence reports that the Naxals could launch an attack in Bastar region which is going to the polls in the first phase on April 11. Maoist activity, under its the tactical counter offensive campaign (TCOC), had organised a movement against security forces and politicians ahead of Lok Sabha polls. Intelligence had hinted that the Naxals would rely on remote control device to attack their targets.
Three policemen and a driver were also killed in the attack. They have been identified as driver Danteshwar Maurya, Chhagan Kuldeep, Somdu Kawasi and Ramlal Oyami.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolence on Twitter and said, “Bheema Mandavi was a dedicated Karyakarta [worker] of the BJP. Diligent and courageous, he assiduously served the people of Chhattisgarh. His demise is deeply anguishing. Condolences to his family and supporters.”
The attack is a grim reminider of a similar incident of May 2013 that took place in Dantewada’s Darbha ghati, in which 27 Congress leaders were killed in the Naxal ambush.
On Arpil 7, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) had thwarted a twin IED blast intended to target Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel in Rajnandgaon.
The area was searched thoroughly and the team found batteries and other devices that suggested that the IEDs were detonated through a remote control.
It was for the first time in the recent history that the naxals used the remote controlled IED to target the security forces. Earlier, the Naxals used wires or booby traps to carry out blasts. Security arrangements have been tightened in the state in view of Lok Sabha polls.
At present, the Naxals have been conducting the tactical counter offensive campaign – TCOC – and every year, carriues out attacks on the security forces.
CEO Chhattisgarh has taken an immediate VC of collectors and SPs of the affected districts covering phase I and phase II in Chhattisgarh and instructed them to take utmost precautions over the next few days in view of the Lok Sabha polling in the state.