The health minister of an Indian state has been hospitalised after being shot by a police officer, Indian broadcaster NDTV reports.
Assistant Sub-Inspector Gopal Das opened fire at Odisha Health Minister Naba Kisore Das in Gandhi Chowk near Jharsuguda’s Brajrajnagar on Sunday, according to Brajrajnagar Sub-Divisional Police Officer Gupteswar Bhoi.
Video showed Naba Das bleeding from the chest following the incident as locals were trying to put the unconscious government official into a car.
Witnesses said the attacker fired two bullets at him just as the politician stepped out of his vehicle. Authorities airlifted him to Bhubaneswar after he was rushed to a hospital, according to NDTV.
“We saw a police personnel running away after shooting from close range," said a witness, who was among the crowd converging to welcome the minister, who was set to attend a public office opening programme as the chief guest.
Police said they took the attacker into custody after locals caught him. The motives behind the attack are still unclear.
Condemning the attack, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik instructed the local crime branch to investigate it.
"I am shocked at the unfortunate incident. I strongly condemn this and pray for his early recovery. Crime Branch was directed to take up the investigation. Senior officers of Crime Branch were asked to go to the spot," news agency ANI quoted him saying.
Tension prevailed in the town after the incident, with supporters of the politician questioning security lapses in the area. Some of them claimed that a conspiracy was hatched to target him.