Jamshedpur, Oct. 9: Armed rebels opened fire at Nagarik Suraksha Samiti leader Shailen Baskey and his body guard this morning at Kashiabera, about 75 km from here, under Ghurabandha police station.
Baskey sustained grievous injuries in the attack while his bodyguard, Jogeswar Murmu (28), died on the spot.
Three bullets — one close to the spinal cord, another in the back and a third in the right leg — hit Baskey.
Tata Main Hospital sources said Baskey’s condition is stable now, but it may turn critical after operation.
A police source said the attack occurred at 6am while Baskey was returning from Ghura police picket with his wife Deepali in a motorcycle. The bodyguard was following them in another two-wheeler.
As Baskey was negotiating a bridge on Ghura river, the rebels hiding nearby started showering gunshots.
“The bodyguard of Baskey, a police constable, was ahead of the leader’s bike. As his bike came closer, four rebels shot at him. The bodyguard fell down. Soon after, one of the rebels fired at Baskey and he, too, fell from the bike with his wife,” said a source.
As the injured leader was scurrying for cover, the rebels surrounded him with guns, even as his wife pleaded for his life. Assuming the profusely-bleeding Baskey was dead, the rebels fired a shot in his leg before picking up Murmu’s self-loading rifle from the spot and disappearing into the woods shouting slogans.
Soon after, police and paramilitary personnel reached the spot and rushed Baskey to a health centre at Dumaria, from where he was shifted to Tata Main Hospital.
“I arrived at the spot within five minutes of the attack, and saw the rebels passing through the jungle shouting slogans with guns raised in the air. But I did not do anything as it was dangerous to confront armed rebels,” said Pithu Murmu, a relative of Baskey.
Deputy inspector-general of police (Kolhan) Ram Lakhan Prasad said: “After the shooting, the rebels moved towards Orissa border, just 100 yards from the place of occurrence.”
Superintendent of police, East Singhbhum district, Navin Kumar Singh is camping at Ghurabandha and is supervising the combing operation that began soon after the Naxalites struck the NSS leader.