Unidentified attackers on Monday shot dead a village leader in Orissa's Rayagada district, the police said.
The assailants shot dead middle-aged Ananta Kondagiri, the sarpanch (village council chief) of Rekhapadar panchayat near his village Pandratola, some 35 km from the district headquarters of Rayagada and some 700 km from Bhubaneswar, around 9.45 am, police official AK Deo told IANS.
The attackers opened fire at him when he was walking to his office, located about one-and-a-half kilometre away from his home, he said.
"We don't know the exact reason for the murder but it could be either due to political rivalry or an act of Maoists," he said. The police have reached to the spot and begun investigating.
Rebels of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) are active in more than half of Orissa's 30 districts.
In the past three months they have killed at least eight villagers in neighbouring Malkangiri district, suspecting them of being police spies.