This is the sixth targeted Maoist killing of a BJP worker in Chhattisgarh in past one year.
According to initial reports, Ratan Dubey, the BJP worker active as district vice-president and Zila panchayat member, was addressing an election rally in Dhaudai region near Kaushalnagar in Narayanpur.Five kilometres from Jharghati police station, BJP workerRatan Dubey who had gone out for election campaign was killed by unidentified Maoists using a sharp-edged weapon, a police statement said.
“The incident took place around 5.30 in the evening and police force immediately rushed to the spot and seized the body. The body was being shifted to district headquarters and further investigations have been initiated,” the police statement said.
A cock fight was organized, close to the dais, from where few men in attire of villagers came out and approached Dubey on the stage. Upon seeing them, Dubey somehow sensed the danger and he ran down the stage but the assailants chased him for few hundred kilometres and opened fire at him. As he fell on the main road with bullet injuries, the Maoists hacked him to death using an axe, in front of the onlookers.
Reacting to the incident, BJP Chhattisgarh in-charge, Om Prakash Mathur said, “Ratan Dubey was brutally murdered by the Maoists using an axe and he was chopped in pieces. I appeal to the party workers and leaders that we will take revenge for this by winning the elections. We are with his family and targeted killings are happening continuously. This shows that the law & order situation in the state is worsening. Maoists are frightened that if BJP comes to power, they will not be able to survive.”
Former chief minister and senior BJP leader Raman Singh posted on his social media handle X, “I pray for the smooth transition of our party worker Ratan Dubey ji and strength for his family. Such target killings are aimed to affect the Vidhan Sabha elections and scare off the BJP, but we are not going to get scared because the people of Chhattisgarh are with us. Very soon, the Maoists and other offenders will be hanged upside down.”
Anguished BJP workers have gathered at BJP office in Narayanpur demanding immediate action in the case.
Twelve constituencies of tribal Bastar region, including Narayanpur, are among the twenty assembly constituencies going to polls on November 7 in the first phase of elections. BJP has fielded former minister Kedar Kashyap for Narayanpur seat against Congress’ Chandan Kashyap.
Maoists in Bastar region have called for boycott of elections through several leaflets, banners and posters and in other statements issued in Bijapur and Sukma districts, they have warned polling parties, and candidates not to visit the remote areas for electioneering.
Maoists had recently on October 20 killed a BJP worker and prominent tribal leader Birju Taram, in a remote village in the insurgency-hit Mohla-Manpur-Ambagarh Chowki district. Maoists also claimed responsibility of the murder accusing him for working with BJP and RSS and visiting villages seeking votes for the party.
Raman Singh had earlier expressed concern over the deteriorating law and order situation in Chhattisgarh and compared it to the situation in West Bengal, emphasizing that political killings are unacceptable and objectionable.
Chhattisgarh BJP President Arun Sao called it a “targeted killing” intended to intimidate and discourage party workers.
The BJP had previously expressed concerns and demanded a high-level investigation into the successive targeted killings of BJP workers in the Bastar region. Three party workers were murdered in Bijapur and Narayanpur districts in a series of incidents.
In the insurgency-hit Bijapur district of Bastar division, a former sarpanch and local BJP tribal leader, Kaka Arjun, was abducted and killed by Maoists on June 21. Maoists murdered former sarpanch and BJP working committee member Ramdhar Alami, who had been active for fifteen years in Dantewada district on February 11, accusing him of being a police informer and taking money for local projects.
On February 10, BJP district vice-president Sagar Sahu was shot dead by Maoists inside his home in Narayanpur district, and another BJP committee president, Neelkanth Kakkem, was murdered in the Awapalli region of Bijapur district on February 5.
Former BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi was killed in a Maoists ambush when he was returning from campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections in April 2019. His vehicle was blown up by an IED blast in Shyamgiri, killing Mandavi and four others, including a driver, on the spot.