//Jharkhand MP among 5 shot dead by Maoist rebels

Jharkhand MP among 5 shot dead by Maoist rebels

Mar 5, 2007  

JAMSHEDPUR, India (Reuters) – Suspected Maoist rebels shot dead a Jharkhand lawmaker and three of his bodyguards on Sunday as they watched a village soccer match, police said.

Sunil Kumar Mahato, who was also the general-secretary of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, a regional party, died on the way to hospital. One of his supporters was also killed in the shooting.

The attack took place in Kishanpur village in Jharkhand's East Singhbhum district, a Maoist stronghold about 45 km east of the industrial city of Jamshedpur.

Mahato was visiting the village as guest of honour at the match being played to mark a Hindu festival when 10 gunmen, disguised as villagers, shot him from close range, said Pankaj Darar, a senior district police officer.

"The gunmen first shot the three bodyguards and Mahato's close party associate before pumping several bullets into him," Darar said, adding the attackers were suspected to be Maoist rebels.

"He did not have any chance and died on way to hospital."

Mahato, 41, was serving his first term as a member of the lower house of the national parliament and had been elected from Jamshedpur in 2004.

Jharkhand is one of 13 states affected by a Maoist revolt that began in the late 1960s.

The rebels say they are fighting for the rights of poor farmers and landless labourers and attack security forces, government officials, politicians and state property.

Thousands of people have been killed in violence so far.