BHUBANESWAR, India - A wheelchair-bound provincial lawmaker and his bodyguard were shot dead in India's eastern Orissa state by suspected Maoist rebels, a senior police official said on Saturday.
Three men riding on a single motorcycle opened fire at Jagabandhu Majhi, whose legs are crippled, as he attended a public function at the village of Gona in Nabrangpur district.
Police suspect Maoist rebels active in the area for the death of the 39-year old member of the state's legislative assembly as well as his bodyguard, but did not rule out that others may have been responsible. "We are keeping all options open," state police chief M.M. Praharaj told Reuters.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said Maoist rebels, who effectively control large swathes of territory in central and eastern India including Orissa, are the country's gravest internal security threat. The rebels say they are fighting for the rights of the poor.