Two days before tribal Bastar goes to the polls, Maoists shot and hacked to death the Narayanpur district BJP vice-president in full public view on Saturday evening. Ratan Dubey is the second BJP leader to be killed in Bastar in two weeks, and the seventh this year. One of the earlier victims was Dubey’s predecessor in the same post in the Narayanpur BJP unit, Sagar Sahu, who was murdered in February this year.Dubey’s murder comes barely 10 days after the Maoists issued a threat to political workers and candidates “not to come seeking votes to Bastar”.
Dubey, who was a Narayanpur zilla panchayat member as well, was killed soon after addressing an election rally in Dhaudai region near Kaushalnagar, around 280km from Raipur.
After the campaign was over, a cock fight was organised near the dais, and a crowd gathered around it. Sources say that a group of men, disguised as villagers, quietly broke away from the crowd and started approaching the dais. Dubey spotted them quickly and sensed danger. He jumped from the dais and started running. The commotion caught everyone’s attention and they looked away from the cockfight to see Dubey being chased by a group of men holding guns, daggers and axes.
As scores of people watched in horror, the chase went on for a few hundred metres before one of the assailants shot Dubey in the back. The moment he collapsed, the killers began hacking him with axes and daggers.
Dubey was killed 5km from Jharghati police station, a police statement said. “The incident took place around 5.30 in the evening and police immediately rushed to the spot. The body is being shifted to the district headquarters (35km away) and further investigations have been initiated,” the statement said.
BJP Chhattisgarh in-charge Om Prakash Mathur said, “Ratan Dubey was chopped to pieces by Maoists. I appeal to party workers and leaders that we will avenge this by winning the elections. We are with his family. Targeted killings are happening relentlessly. This shows that the law and order is worsening in Chhattisgarh. Maoists are frightened that they won’t survive if BJP comes to power.”
Former chief minister and senior BJP leader Raman Singh expressed his grief and tweeted: “Such targeted killings are aimed to affect the elections and scare off BJP, but we are not going to get scared because the people of Chhattisgarh are with us. Very soon, the Naxalites and other offenders will be hanged upside down.” Dubey is the seventh BJP worker to be murdered this year. On October 20, Birju Taram was shot dead in Mohla-Manpur district when he was returning from an election meeting of Raman Singh. On June 20, BJP ST Morcha general secretary in Bijapur, 52-year-old Kaka Arjun, was murdered.
On January 16, BJP worker Budhram Kartam was killed when he was on his morning walk in Jagdalpur. Another BJP leader, Neelkanth Kakkem, was murdered in Awapalli region of Bijapur on February 5. In back-to-back killings on February 10-11, Maoists murdered BJP district vice-president Sagar Sahu in Narayanpur and Ramdhar Alami in Dantewada.

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