Just two days ahead of the tribal Bastar elections, Maoist insurgents executed a brutal attack in full public view, fatally shooting and hacking Ratan Dubey, the BJP vice-president of Narayanpur district. This marks the second BJP leader to be killed in Bastar within a fortnight and the seventh political assassination in the region this year. A previous victim was Sagar Sahu, Dubey’s predecessor in the same role, who fell victim to a murder in February.
Dubey’s murder follows closely on the heels of a Maoist warning issued just ten days earlier, cautioning political workers and candidates against campaigning in Bastar.
The horrifying incident unfolded after Dubey had addressed an election rally in the Dhaudai region near Kaushalnagar, approximately 280 kilometres from Raipur. Following the rally’s conclusion, a cockfight event drew a crowd near the stage. Unbeknownst to the gathering, a group of men, disguised as villagers, subtly detached from the crowd and began advancing toward the dais. Dubey quickly discerned the impending danger, leaping from the platform and initiating a frantic escape. The commotion captured the attention of the onlookers, diverting their focus from the cockfight as they witnessed Dubey being pursued by a gang brandishing guns, daggers, and axes.
The pursuit continued for several hundred meters, with scores of people watching in shock. It culminated when one of the assailants shot Dubey in the back. As he collapsed, the attackers subjected him to a gruesome assault, wielding axes and daggers.
Dubey’s tragic end occurred just 5 kilometres from the Jharghati police station, as confirmed by a police statement. “The incident took place around 5:30 in the evening, and police immediately rushed to the scene. The body is being transported to the district headquarters, 35 kilometres away, and further investigations have been initiated,” the statement read.
Reacting to the gruesome incident, Om Prakash Mathur, BJP Chhattisgarh in-charge, decried Dubey’s brutal murder at the hands of Maoists and pledged to avenge it through election victories. He underscored the deteriorating law and order situation in Chhattisgarh and suggested that the Maoists fear their survival under BJP governance.
Former Chief Minister Raman Singh expressed his condolences and determination via Twitter, stating, “Such targeted killings aim to disrupt elections and intimidate the BJP, but we won’t be cowed, for the people of Chhattisgarh stand with us. Soon, the Naxalites and other offenders will face justice.”
Tragically, Dubey’s murder is the seventh case of a BJP worker being slain this year. In a grim series of events, Maoists have targeted individuals associated with the party, leaving a trail of violence and insecurity.