RANCHI: Suspected Maoists gunned down three Jharkhand royal family members in Lohardaga district, 100km from here, late on Saturday night after the rebels kidnapped them from Peshrar police station area where they (royal family members) had gone for hunting. DIG Ranchi range Arun Kumar Singh said bodies of three members of royal Shahdeo family were recovered on Sunday morning and sent to neighboring Latehar district for postmortem. Deceased Bal Kishore Nath Shahdeo and Lal Jay Kishore Nath Shahdeo (in 50s) are brothers of former chairman Jharkhand Pollution Control Board Thakur Balmukund Nath Shahdeo and Lal Pramod Nath Shahdeo (in 30s) is his cousin. Pramod is the son of Bal Kishore Nath Sahdeo.
They lived in Murmu village in Peshrar block of the district. The erstwhile rulers in Jharkhand, many Shahdeo family members are on the hit-list of Maoists whose activities they have been opposing. The extremists have attacked several Shahdeo family members in past who own big chunk of land across south Chhotanagpur division. Lohardaga is among the worst Maoist-hit districts in Jharkhand. Chief minister Raghubar Das strongly condemned the incident and rushed state rural development minister Neelkanth Singh Munda and DGP D K Pandey to the spot.
The police have deployed central paramilitary forces in the area. “Underlying animosity Maoists have with the royal family members seems to be the reason behind the killings,” Singh said adding only complete investigation would reveal the actual reason. “A group of four Shahdeo family members had gone for hunting in the countryside two days ago. Last (Saturday) night they were holding an informal feast in a village where around two dozen locals had also gathered. There was only one exit point from the village. Maoists encircled them while they were having dinner and kidnapped three royal family members while one of them managed to escape,” a police officer said. They took them a few meters away, tortured and shot them dead. Afraid of Maoists the police arrived at the spot only next morning to retrieve the bodies.