BJP lawmaker Bheema Mandavi and five others were killed in an IED blast in Chhattisgarh state. In a separate attack, Chandrakant Sharma, a regional leader of a Hindu group linked to the BJP, was gunned down in India-administered Kashmir.

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) personnel patrol a street for the upcoming general election in Siliguri, in the Indian state of West Bengal. April 9, 2019.
Indian Border Security Force (BSF) personnel patrol a street for the upcoming general election in Siliguri, in the Indian state of West Bengal. April 9, 2019. (AP)

At least seven people, including a state legislator for India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), were killed in two separate attacks on Tuesday, officials said, days before India begins a general election.

BJP lawmaker Bheema Mandavi and four others were killed in the eastern state of Chhattisgarh after Maoist militants were suspected to have detonated a bomb as Mandavi and his entourage were driving back from a campaign appearance, district magistrate Topeshwar Verma said.

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) personnel patrol a street for the upcoming general election in Siliguri, in the Indian state of West Bengal. April 9, 2019.
Indian Border Security Force (BSF) personnel patrol a street for the upcoming general election in Siliguri, in the Indian state of West Bengal. April 9, 2019. (AFP)

'Kishtwar attack'

In a separate attack, unidentified gunmen burst into a hospital in India-administered Kashmir and killed Chandrakant Sharma, a regional leader of a Hindu group linked to the BJP, along with his bodyguard, a police official said.

Authorities imposed an indefinite curfew in the town of Kishtwar, bordering the contested Muslim-majority region of Kashmir claimed by both India and Pakistan, and sent troops to the area.

Sharma, 48, was a leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the influential parent organisation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP.

He was flown to a hospital at the Government Medical College in Jammu but died there, senior police officer Angrez Singh Rana said.

"He was the centre of hope and trust for a patriotic society that is against terrorism," said Manmohan Vaidya, general secretary of the RSS.

The issue of Kashmir looms large in India's multi-phase general election after a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitary troopers was claimed by a militant group based in Pakistan.

Voting in south Kashmir, bordering the area where Sharma was killed, will happen in phases, to reduce the risk of attack by militants battling for independence from India. 

Source: Reuters