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BJP woman leader killed

Ranchi, Sept. 30: Gumla zilla parishad member and vice-president of the district BJP’s women’s wing was abducted from her home last evening, apparently for refusing to pay levy, and shot dead by suspected rebels before the police could trace her in .

The bullet-riddled body of Kalawati Devi, 39, was found by the roadside linking Naspura village with Palkot police station around 11pm yesterday. Her family has accused four persons of the murder in an FIR.

The police have arrested one of the accused, Parmeshwar Gope, who had been sent to jail two years ago for alleged links with the PLFI. Gope was recently released on bail and had allegedly demanded levy from Kalawati’s family.

Sources in the police said that a few weeks ago, the family refused to pay levy to the tune of Rs 30,000 demanded by a local PLFI rebel.

But, Gumla superintendent of police (SP) Jatin Narwal said that PLFI had not not threatened the family since then. “Also, family members have maintained they did not have any personal enmity or feud with anyone. We are probing the case from various angles,” the SP said.

Four men forcibly entered Kalwati’s residence — less than 10km from Palkot police station — around 8pm and whisked her away in a car. Her relatives immediately alerted the police, following which a search operation was launched.

“I led the raids. We sealed every important thoroughfare, but we could not save her,” the SP rued.

State BJP spokesman Pradip Sinha condemned the incident. “We demand adequate security and compensation to the victim’s family. The culprits should be arrested immediately,” he said.

Sinha said that state BJP president Dineshanand Goswami, who was busy with party programmes in Sahebganj, would take up the issue with chief minister Arjun Munda. A party fact-finding committee would soon head for Gumla.

Last month, senior JVM leader Vijay Mundu was also gunned down by bike-borne suspected PLFI rebels at his Torpa residence in Khunti.

However, yesterday’s instance is perhaps the first in which a woman zilla parishad member was targeted by extremists.