A local Congress leader, formerly a sarpanch, was killed allegedly by Naxalites who accused him of being a police informer in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district. Following the incident, the Congress accused the ruling BJP of failing to provide security to the opposition party’s leaders in Bastar region.
Chhannuram Mandavi (55), the former sarpanch of his native Cholnar village, was killed with sharp-edged weapons at his house under Kirandul police station limits late last night, Dantewada Superintendent of Police Kamlochan Kashyap told PTI.
A group of about 24 armed Naxalites stormed into Mandavi’s house in Cholnar, located around 450 kms away from here, and slit his throat. Mandavi died on the spot, he said. A police team rushed to the spot on receiving information and sent the body for postmortem this morning, he said.
Some Maoist pamphlets were recovered from the spot in which Mandavi was branded as a police informer, the SP said, adding that a search has been launched to nab the assailants. Kashyap also informed that Mandavi was earlier arrested and jailed in connection with a Naxal attack on the house of Congress leader Avdhesh Gautam at Nakulnar village in Dantewada in 2010.
A family member of Gautam and one of his employees were killed in the attack. Mandavi was later acquitted in the case, he said.
Mandavi was currently the president of Congress’ Dantewada district Kisan Morcha (farmer’s wing). He was a close aide of senior Congress leader Mahendra Karma, who was killed in the Jiram valley Naxal attack on May 25, 2013, a party source said. He was also the president of party’s Kuwakonda janpad panchayat unit in the past.
Meanwhile, state Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel accused the Chhattisgarh’s BJP government of “deliberately” not providing enough security to Congress leaders in Bastar region. “There were reports that Mandavi was on the target of Naxalites and had received threats but even after that he was not provided security,” he told reporters.
“Earlier also the Congress party lost its top leaders in Naxal attacks. On May 25, 2013 the Naxalites attacked a Congress convoy in Bastar’s Darbha area where the then state chief Nandkumar Patel, former Leader of Opposition Mahendra Karma and several other leaders were killed,” he said.
Even after four years of that attack, the victims have been denied justice and the conspirators are roaming freely, Baghel alleged.