The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Paswan doubts red link in murder

Patna, Jan. 23: Ram Vilas Paswan today doubted Bihar government's version that Left-wing rebels had gunned down former Gaya MP and his party nominee from Imamganj Assembly constituency Rajesh Kumar. A CBI inquiry, he insisted, is necessary to unravel the mystery.

The Lok Janshakti Party president stopped short of demanding imposition of President's rule; but given the deteriorating security environment in the state, he said the chief minister should resign and the election conducted under President's Rule.

Kumar's murder has sent shockwaves through the political circles and a CPI(M-L) spokesman described it a 'state-sponsored' murder and expressed fear that more such murders would take place before the polling day.

Political parties felt that the deployment of central forces, geared for the polling day, may not be able to prevent more pre-poll violence. Bodies of the former MP, his two bodyguards and a party worker, were handed over to the relatives after post-mortem.

D. Narayan Mishra said a massive combing operation has been launched in both Gaya and the adjoining district of Chatra in Jharkhand to arrest Kumar's killers. He, however, admitted that the situation was tense despite deployment of additional forces.

Kumar, who was travelling in a convoy of three vehicles, was returning after campaigning in the area and was ambushed by Maoists, who were waiting at Bikua village under Dumaria police station. A hail of bullets felled Kumar and his bodyguards while the party worker later succumbed to burn injuries sustained after two vehicles, including Kumar's Scorpio, were torched. Extremist-affected districts like Gaya, Jehanabad, Arwal, Aurangabad, Rohtas and Bhojpur will go to poll on February 3.

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