Chhattisgarh encounter: Who is Hidma, the brutal Naxal commander behind the attack that killed 22 jawans

In major loss to our security forces, 22 jawans were killed and 31 were injured in a deadly four-hour encounter with Naxals along the border between Bijapur and Sukma districts in Chhattisgarh on Saturday (April 3). 

Over 2,000 police personnel drawn from CRPF’s elite CoBRA unit, and the state police’s District Reserve Guard (DRG) and Special Task Force (STF) walked into a deadly trap of Maoists in deep jungle in a rebel-dominated patch in Chhattisgarh’s restive Bastar, purely on an unverified intelligence input that top Naxal commander Madvi Hidma was holed up at a hilly site along with his colleagues.

But as it turned out the input was basically a well-planned trap of the Maoist guerrillas as they gunned down 22 security personnel and walked away with their weapons too. 

“The security personnel were stunned by Maoists’ heavy gunfire… actually, it was an ambush designed in U-shape but the troopers too retaliated hard,” a local DRG policeman who part of the search team told IANS. 

Who is Hidma?

Hidma alias Hidamanna is one of the most wanted terror faces in the mineral-rich Bastar. A top commander of the Naxals, Hidma is the leader of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla army’s (PLGa) battalion number 1.

Hidma is tribal from Sukma district’s Puvarti village and he joined hands with the rebels in the 1990s. Known for his deadly ambushes, the brutal commander leads180 to 250 Maoist fighters, including women. He is also a part of the Maoists Dandakaranya Special Zonal committee (DKSZ).

Hidma, who carries a bounty of Rs 40 lakh, is also the youngest member of the CPI (Maoists) supreme 21-membered ‘central committee.’

The NIA has filed a chargesheet against Hidma in the Bheem Mandavi murder case.

Maoists’ Modus Operandi

A tactical counter-offensive campaign (TCOC) is launched by Maosits every year form January to June wherein red ultras carry out burial and deadly ambush attacks targeting the security forces.

Most trees shed their leaves during this time of the year, so maoists strategically carry attacks during this period as it provides better visibility and movement.

Saturday’s attack

According to security forces, 15 Naxals were killed and 20 got injured in the operation. Home Minister Amit Shah and Chief Minister Bhupesh Bhagel on Monday (April 5) laid wreaths on the coffins of 14 security personnel killed in the attack in Chhatisgarh. 

Shah had earlier told reporters the government will “not tolerate such bloodshed and a befitting response will be given to put an end to the ongoing battle with Maoists”. 

(With agency inputs)

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