Jharkhand ministers alarmed after killing of lawmakerJuly 14th, 2008 - 11:07 am ICT by IANS
By Nityanand Shukla
Ranchi, July 14 (IANS) The killing of a Jharkhand lawmaker by suspected Maoist guerrillas on Wednesday has got state ministers alarmed about their safety. On Wednesday, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) lawmaker Ramesh Singh Munda was killed by suspected Maoist guerrillas in Baruhatu village of Ranchi district, about 60 km from here, when he was attending a prize distribution function at a school. Two of his security guards and a student were also killed. One security guard saved himself by ducking behind the student, who got killed.
Munda is the second politician to be killed. In March last year, Sunil Mahto, a Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) MP from Jamshedpur, was killed while watching a football match. Mahto was killed along with three security personnel. Two of his security guards saved themselves by hiding their identities.
The two incidents have left ministers and other lawmakers shaken.
Land and Revenue Minister Dulal Bhuiya says there is a problem with his escort vehicle. “The escort vehicle is a decade old. The escort Gypsy has been repaired and welded several times. However, the vehicle suffers a breakdown when I visit my constituency,” Bhuiya told IANS. “After all, I am a minister and the state government should take care of my security.”
“We cannot depend on the security provided by the state government. The security personnel ditch us when they should show their valour. I will raise the issue with the state police chief,” said another minister.
Politicians are becoming soft targets of Maoist rebels.
Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist (CPI-ML) legislator Mehendra Singh was killed in January 2005 in Giridih district. He was gunned down while attending a party programme deep inside the jungle.
Maoist rebels have made abortive bids to eliminate former home minister Sudesh Mahto, former chief minister Babulal Marandi and others. More than a dozen politicians including Chief Minister Madhu Koda, former chief minister Arjun Munda, Babulal Marandi and others have been targets of Maoist rebels.
The series of killings has unnerved the politicians. “Most of the legislators come from Maoist infested areas. We have to move in our constituencies. The situation has come to a point that either we leave politics or we are ready to face the bullets of Maoist rebels,” a former minister and legislator told IANS.
According to police sources, more than 30 active workers of different political parties have been killed in the last seven years. Most of those killed belonged to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the JMM. Officials indicate that in the last seven years, nearly 1,200 people, including 320 security personnel, have been killed.
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