It wasn't that the police was unaware that Mahto was on the Naxal hit list. Yet security provided for the JMM MP was rather thin when he attended a football match at Bakuria in Ghatshila subdivision of East Singhbhum district on the day of Holi. Mahto, who was the chief guest, was personally not too keen for extra security since he saw no threat to himself, though Ghatshila is traditionally an area where Maoists are active.
The shocking killing, ostensibly masterminded by activists of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), took place as the MP was about to give away prizes to the winners of the football match. Eyewitnesses and police sources say a group of 15 Naxalites, disguised as participants at the function, went up to Mahto with garlands and opened fire—first they gunned down the bodyguards and then pumped seven bullets into the MP from close range. A party functionary, Prabhakar Mahto, also died in the shooting. The shooting killed five persons, including the JMM MP.