New Delhi: A convoy of BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi was attacked by Naxals in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada on Tuesday. The political leader and another four people have lost their lives in the incident which took place with less than 36 hours remaining for voting in the first phase of Lok Sabha 2019 election.
Apart from Mandavi, head constables Chagan Kuldip and Ramlal Oymi, driver Diteshwar Maurya and Somdu Kavasi lost their lives. (Also read: Top security official says BJP MLA was advised against taking the route)
P Sundar Raj, DIG-Anti-Naxal Ops: We have information of BJP MLA Bheema Mandavi, his driver and 3 PSOs getting killed in IED blast in Dantewada, today evening. It was a powerful IED blast. Bodies to be evacuated at the earliest for identification. #Chhattisgarh pic.twitter.com/5liSjynJSO
— ANI (@ANI) April 9, 2019
News agency ANI quoted Central Reserve Police Force officials as saying that the attack took place between Kuakonta and Syamgiri in Dantewada. The escort vehicle of State Police came under the blast. The attack was carried out by an improvised explosive device (IED) buried in the road on which the convoy was travelling. CRPF reinforcement has been rushed to the spot.
Zee News has learnt that Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel has cancelled his work-related programs for the day and has returned to his residence to take stock of the situation. Top officials of CRPF and state police have been summoned.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi strongly condemned the attack. Former state CM Raman Singh also expressed his shock at the incident while also pointing fingers at the Congress government here. "I'm in contact with central ministers; spoke to PM an hour ago. I'll go to Dantewada & meet families of deceased...Congress ki boli aur goli ka asar dikhne laga hai," he said.
The Dantewada region has a Naxal-related problem with groups targeting people and politicians repeatedly - especially before elections. This year, a blanket security cover has once again been put into place with 80,000 security personnel deployed in Bastar - another Naxal-infested area. While Bastar votes in the first phase on April 11, Dantewada votes in the second phase on April 18.
Tuesday's attack on the BJP convoy is the second such attack in the day with an RSS leader being targeted by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir earlier on Tuesday. Chandrakant Sharma succumbed to his injuries.