India: Legislator, security killed in Maoist bombing

Monitoring Desk

CHANDIGARH: Five people including a ruling party legislator were killed when a convoy was attacked by Maoist insurgents in central Indian state of Chhattisgarh on Tuesday, local media reported.

Officials said the explosion of an improvised explosive device (IED) had slain Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker Bheema Mandavi as well as members of his security detail while passing through the Shyamagiri hills in Chhattisgarh, local police said.

The bombing was carried out “days before the first-phase polling in the state,” news agency Press Trust of India pointed out.

A statement issued by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) said reinforcements rushed to the scene shortly after the incident.

Voters in the region of the attack are slated to go to the polls in the first of seven phases in the upcoming general elections on April 11.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — who is of the same party as the victim — “strongly” condemned the attack.

“My tributes to the security personnel who were martyred. The sacrifices of these martyrs will not go in vain,” he said on twitter.

In another tweet, Modi said, Shri Bheema Mandavi was a dedicated, diligent and courageous, and that he assiduously served the people of Chhattisgarh. “His demise is deeply anguishing. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti.”

The Maoist rebels have been fighting for more than three decades in eastern and central India for what they describe as the rights of tribal people in the region. (AA)