Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
Bandit queen-turned-Samajwadi Party Member of Parliament Phoolan Devi was shot dead by three men outside her official residence in New Delhi on Wednesday afternoon.
Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan stunned the Lok Sabha on Wednesday by announcing that Phoolan Devi had been shot dead outside her Ashoka Road residence, barely a kilometre away from Parliament House.
The minister gave the information when senior Congress member Priyaranjan Dasmunshi drew the attention of the House to rumours of the former bandit queen's murder.
Phoolan Devi, who was present in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday morning, had gone home for lunch.
Reports said three masked gunmen drove up in a reddish white Maruti car [registration number: CIM 907] and opened fire outside Phoolan Devi's house at about 1330 IST. The MP took five bullets, including one in the forehead, while her bodyguard was also injured.
The assailants then dropped their weapons at the spot, got into a waiting autorickshaw [DL-3C CM-1100] and drove away. The police have recovered one pistol with three live bullets and a sports cap from the Maruti car.
Both Phoolan Devi and her guard were rushed to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, where the MP was declared dead. The bodyguard is in a semi-conscious state.
A hunt has been launched for the killers throughout the capital and all exit points have been sealed.
Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned till 1500 IST on hearing the news.
When the Lok Sabha reassembled, Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani made a statement. He said, "I am very sad to inform the House that the Samajwadi Party MP from Mirzapur, Phoolan Devi, is no more."
Advani said that according to his conversation with Delhi Police Commissioner Ajai Raj Sharma, the attack was a planned one seeing the manner in which the assailants switched vehicles to make their getaway.
Advani promised that the government would stretch itself to the limit to nab her killers.
The House then stood in silence for a minute in Phoolan Devi's memory. Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav wanted to speak in the House on the murder, but Speaker G M C Balayogi told him that obituary references would be taken up on Thursday.
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