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MPs jittery after Mahto murder

NEW DELHI: Rattled by the gunning down of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha MP Sunil Mahto, over three dozen MPs from the Naxal belt of Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh, Bihar and parts of Uttar Pradesh called on Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Friday, and demanded a spruce up in the security provided to them.

The MPs, who also met Rajya Sabha chairman Bhairon Singh Shekawat and parliamentary affairs minister Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, expressed fears that they may be targets of Maoist attacks when they move around in their constituencies in the Naxal belts of their respective states.
Both Chatterjee and Dasmunshi discussed the matter with Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil.

Dasmunshi later said a confidential list of such MPs is being drawn to beef-up security for them.
Patil is reported to have told Dasmunshi that it was not possible for the Centre to arrange security from Delhi, but assured that he would talk to the concerned state governments to enhance security for those members who are under such threats. Referring to the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Dasmunshi said even the security guards cannot be trusted.

"Who will guard the guards?" he asked.
Backing the MPs from Bihar, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad said the Naxalite threat cannot be brushed aside. "Many are in the hit list. It is the responsibility of the state government to augment security for them." Lalu took the opportunity to slam his bete noire and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for not giving adequate security to Rabri Devi, his wife and leader of Opposition in the Bihar assembly.

He criticised the sacking of Rabri's driver by Nitish Kumar, for blocking the chief minister's cavalcade. "The driver is made a scapegoat," Lalu said. Rabri had earlier said that her driver did not block the chief minister's car and she could not move out on time because she was being mobbed by media persons.

The Jharkhand government, meanwhile, has made a formal request to the
CBI to investigate into the killing of Sunil Mahto near Jamshedpur on Sunday. Official sources said the state government's request will be considered by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), as CBI comes under it. DNA

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posted by Resistance 3/10/2007 10:27:00 AM,

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