(Featured Image when he was supposedly very young)
Last weeks’ brutal Naxal encounter in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur, in which at least 22 jawans were killed, has caused a dreaded name in the region to resurface: Madvi Hidma.
Hidma is known to be ruthless and a master of guerilla warfare.
Madvi Hidma was born in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma, and joined the Communist Party of India (Maoist) at the age of 10 and quickly rose up the party’s ranks as a master strategist.
He was arrested in 2016 along with six other Naxals, but not long after, was promoted to the CPI (Maoist)’s Central Committee, and then went on to lead the party’s militia actions after the death of Ravula Srinivas aka Ramanna.
Hidma belongs to the Muriya tribal community of Bastar region and his village is still out of bounds for the police, according to a report by the Hindustan Times.
Hidma reportedly received guerilla warfare training in the Philippines and is also believed to have carried out several attacks in the last decade, the report said.
He is also known to be a shadowy figure who avoids media glare, according to the report.
“Bastariya muriya tribals are aggressive and Hidma has established himself as a master strategist and successful operational commander,” a police officer told the publication.
Past Involvement in Attacks
Over the years, Hidma has become of the biggest threats in the area and his presence was documented during some of the biggest attacks the Maoists have carried out.
This includes the May 25, 2013 attack on a Congres rally in Sukma’s Jhiram Valley which killed 29 people including the-then state president of Congress Nand Kumar Patel, and senior party leaders Vidya Charan Shukla and Mahendra Karma.
On March 12, 2017, at least 12 CRPF jawans were killed in a Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh’s Bheji village.
On April 25, 2017, as many as 32 CRPF personnel were killed in an encounter that took place between the Burkapal-Chintagufa area in Bastar.
On May 6, 2017, Maoists ambushed and killed 14 soldiers in Kasalpad in Sukma district.
His presence was also reported on April 9, 2019, when four people, including BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi, were killed in an IED blast near Shyamagiri village in Kuakondablak in Dantewada district.
Why is it so difficult to catch him?
Given his profile, security personnel tracking Hidma say he carries three rings of security in concentric circles. He stays away from the roads deep inside the jungles, moving with units of his battalion, unless he is emerging for an operation, always with a purpose. Having grown up in the jungles, and roamed around the area for many years, he has an intricate knowledge of the terrain and the demography, which makes him difficult to track.
The lack of phone networks in many parts of the jungles of Sukma, Bijaour and Dantewada means any human intelligence is always some days old. Even when the forces know where he will be, the lack of road networks means it takes very long to reach there, particularly because battalion 1 is the most weaponised of the Maoists, which is why the forces too have to carry heavy protective and offensive equipment that slows them down, especially traversing dense foliage, rivers, streams in the harsh summer.
Being a native he is probably better trained, equipped and acclimatised in jungle warfare. It is believed that he used to move with a 3-layer security circle with 250 people around him, spanning 5 Km security ring, strong network. Approaching him leads to encounter.
Maoist spotters in the outer ring often spot the forces, and engage with fire, allowing Hidma to control the operation from close by, but unharmed, and eventually escape.
Interestingly, the police do not have any photographs of Hidma, except an old black and white one—which is almost two decades old, according to a report by Firstpost. He carries a bounty of Rs 40 lakh on his head. The most common description of Hidma is that he carries an AK 47 and leads a strong group of about 250-300 Maoists.
Source: Hindustan Times, The Indian Express and India Times with additional inputs from IADN.