Suspected Maoists struck at two villages of Malkangiri district on the Orissa-Chhattisgarh border on Monday night, abducting seven people including a former panchayat samiti chairman.
The villages where the Maoists struck is very close to Darbha ghati of Sukma, among the country’s worst leftwing extremism (LWE) affected districts.
Malkangiri SP Mitrabhanu Mohapatra said he could not confirm whether the abductors were Maoists. “However, we are keeping a close watch on the development. By this evening, we would be able to confirm,” he said.
Police officials said the area’s proximity to Sukma made it easy for Maoists to carry out abductions and escape into the forests of Chhattisgarh.
Sources said a group of 20-25 armed people came to Kartanpalli village and took away six people, including the former chairman of Mathili, Trinath Bhumia. The alleged Maoists also picked up another villager from neighbouring Bara village.
The last time Maoists carried out an abduction in Malkangiri was in April 2013. The rebels picked up three tribals from a village under Mathili police station area. They then abducted three tribal people from Kiang village under Mathili police station, and later killed two tribals, Gopi Pujari and Hatiram Pujari. The Maoist, however, freed their third captive, Padalam Pujari.
In September 2012, Maoists abducted nine persons, including a former sarpanch, a naib sarpanch and two village guards, from the cut-off area in the district. The two village guards were murdered on allegations of being police informers. The rest were released by the rebels.