Dantewada: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Bheema Mandavi was killed in a Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada on Tuesday evening. P Sundar Raj, DIG-Anti-Naxal Ops confirmed the same. “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,” said P Sundar Raj.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly condemned the Maoist attack and offered his condolences. “My tributes to the security personnel who were martyred. The sacrifices of these martyrs will not go in vain,” said PM Modi.
He further said, “Bhima Mandavi was a dedicated Karyakarta of the BJP. Diligent and courageous, he assiduously served the people of Chhattisgarh. His demise is deeply anguishing. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti.”
Former president Pranab Mukherjee also condemned the attack and expressed grief over the incident. “Shocked and pained at the Naxal attack which took place today in Dantewada, killing 5 people including MLA Shri Bhima Mandavi. Such ghastly and disturbing acts of violence cannot be justified in any manner. My prayers are with the family and friends of the departed souls,” tweeted Mukherjee.
Meanwhile, Dantewada Superintendent of Police Abhishek Pallav said that Mandavi was advised by police not to visit the area. Giving details about the attack, Pallav said that firing from both sides continued for half an hour even after the attack. “There were 5 more security personnel in a car following the BJP MLA’s car, we are locating them,” added Pallav.
The attack took place at Shyamgiri hills when the BJP MLA’s convoy was heading towards Kuwakonda from Bacheli area.
As per reports, seven jawans including a Public Safety Officer (PSO) have also been killed. At least five personnel of Chhattisgarh State Police are critically injured. Meanwhile, reinforcement of CRPF has been rushed.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has called a high-level meeting following the attack.
Dantewada falls in Bastar constituency where polling will be conducted on April 11. Meanwhile, state police and paramilitary forces have intensified anti-Naxal operations ahead of the polls.