The police said that the incident was Maoists and was an attempt to spread their terror in the area, which has been slowly diminishing. The police, however, maintained that this was a gram sabha meeting and not peace committee meeting, which are held by villagers to appeal people to oppose Maoists.According to the police, the meeting was taking place in Raitorang village of Arki when the Maoists appeared on the scene and began firing. It happened late evening. There was no immediate provocation and the assailants simply opened fire. Three persons have died, while four others have sustained injuries, said Khunti Superintendent of Police Anish Gupta.
The deceased have been identified as Sukhram Pahan, Roshan Purthy and Deep Munda; all in their late 30s. The injured have been identified as Vikram Purthy, Samu Purthy, Chhodo Munda and Sanika Munda. They were to taken to Sadar Hospital in Khunti.
Gupta added that, so far, there is no evidence to suggest that the deceased were specific targets. Usually, Maoists often target people, who they suppose to be police informers.
Khunti has been witness to various peace committee meetings, in which villagers collect and appeal not to extend support to Maoists, since more than a year. The police have no role to play in such meetings, but generally approve of. However, Gupta added that this was not a peace committee meeting, but a gram sabha meeting. Further probe is on.