Dantewada: A naxal was gunned down by the Special Task Force (STF) during the first phase of Lok Sabha elections in the Bastar Lok Sabha constituency in  Chhattisgarh on Thursday. Unfortunately, a jawan was injured in the gun battle too. 

This is not the first attack by the naxals in 2019. On April 9, the outlaws executed an improvised explosive device (IED) blast killing BJP Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Bheema Mandavi and four security personnel in insurgency-hit Dantewada district.

In 2018, at least 90 civilians and 47 jawans were killed by the naxals across the country. In 2017 and 2016, the total death toll was  263 and 278 respectively.

Deputy Inspector General (Anti-Naxal Operation) Sundarraj P said that the encounter broke out at around 4:20 pm when the naxals attacked the security forces out on an area domination-cum-search operation in a forest near a helipad in the Orchha area.

Also read: Dantewada's revenge: Impressive voter turnout under shadow of naxals

"STF constable Hriday Ram Sahu sustained injuries in the gunfight," added Sundarraj.

The naxals have been terrorising the region, especially during the polling. Though they have urged locals to boycott the elections, villagers walked 10km to the polling stations. They believe that their votes might help them in getting roads, a good educational institution and access to fundamental needs. 

The village does not have any amenities or access to basic needs. No government representative has ever reached the village.

Some villagers were seen removing the ink mark from their fingers by rubbing it with stones due to the fear of naxals. 

Also read: How Bastar villagers taught naxals the power of democracy

People of Dantedwada have also stood up against the naxals. Shyamgiri under the Kuakonda police station, which witnessed a bloody naxals attack just two days before elections, recorded way more polling that other booths in the Bastar Lok Sabha seat that went to polls in the first phase on April 11.
The polling booth of Shyamgiri recorded 77% polling as against a mere 45 in the rest of the constituency.