A Naxal commander was shot dead today in an encounter with security forces in the forests of Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh. He was later identified as Madvi Muyya, 29, (also known as Joga Kunjam), who had a cash reward of 8 lakh on his head.
A resident of Aranpur and the the former commander of the Maoists' dreaded Battalion No 1, he has been confirmed as one of the masterminds of the April 9 attack that killed BJP lawmaker Bhima Mandavi and four police personnel.
Abhishek Pallav, Dantewada SP, told NDTV, "The encounter took place during a morning search operation between the forests of Perpa and Markamiras led by a joint team of District Reserve Guards (DRG) and state police".
In the aftermath of the attack, a .315 bore gun with six rounds was also recovered.
SP Dantewada: Naxal, Madvi Muyya, was one of the masterminds of the attack in which BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi&5 police personnel were killed. He was also one of the masterminds of Dantewada attack in which DD cameraman along with 2 security personnel had lost their lives last year. https://t.co/8jcakgkLO0— ANI (@ANI) May 2, 2019
The attack that killed the BJP legislator happened in Shyamgiri Hills, which is only 350km from the state capital of Raipur, and took place two days before the violence-prone Bastar region of the state voted in the first phase of the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
Chhattisgarh has grappled with Naxal-related violence all through the ongoing Lok Sabha election, with messages scribbled on the walls of houses in Dantewada, Sukma, Bijapur and Naryanpur districts warning locals against voting during elections.
"BJP ko maar bhagao (Force the BJP to flee)", one warning read. "On the one hand the central government has sold the nation to corporates and on other they talk about nationalism" said another.
However, attempts at voter intimidation seemed to have failed by end of polling in the troubled Bastar region, with 56 per cent voter turnout recorded. In fact, the Shamgiri booth, which was near where the attack happened, recorded 77 per cent polling.
In 2014, the turnout had been 59 per cent.
Madvi Muyya was also involved in the October 2018 attack in Dantewada that claimed the lives of two policemen and a Doordarshan cameraperson.
He was reportedly also part of the deadly April 2017 attack in Sukma district in south Chhattisgarh that killed 25 Central Reserve Police Force (CPRF) personnel and injured seven others.
The encounter and the killing of Madvi Muyaa comes a day after the arrest of Naxal leader Kosi, alias Mangli, who had a reward of 5 lakh on her head, also in Dantewada.
According to SP Pallava, Kosi was involved in the Mailwada landmine attack in March 2016, in which seven CRPF personnel were killed, and in the Cholnar attack that claimed the lives of five policemen after Naxals blew up their anti-landmine vehicle in April 2015.