The Communist Party of India (Maoist) killed three members of a senior BJP leader’s family late on Saturday evening here, some 110-km west of Ranchi.
The deceased have been identified as Lal Balkishore Shahdev (65), Lal Jaykishore Shahdev (62) and Lal Pramod Nath Shahdev (44) — brothers and nephew of Lal Balmukund Nath Shahdev, the ex-chairman of state pollution board.
A group of approximately 15 Maoists killed the Shahdevs, who were camping in a densely forested area of Sahidapaat to oversee farming operations.
“The Maoists’ dragged them from a hut where they had taken shelter and beat them up before killing them around 7.30 pm,” said Ravi Singh, an eyewitness.
The bodies were retrieved by villagers on Sunday morning when the news spread.
Police said the murders may have been motivated by the Shahdev family’s stiff resistance to Maoists threats for vacating their ancestral land.
While, Lohardaga superintendent of police Monoj Ratan Chothe said they were doing their best, resentment brew among locals who accused the police of inaction despite being informed on Saturday night itself.
“The police is playing hide and seek with the Maoists,” said an irate villager, not willing to be named.
Chief minister Raghubar Das has condemned the killings and asked the police to increase anti-Maoist operations in the region.
The state government also sent ministers Neelkanth Singh Munda and Sudershan Bhagat, along with director general of police DK Pandey, to take stock of the situation.
“I am camping here to monitor counter offensive against the Maoists,” Pandey said.