Poll officials safe, abduction report fake: Police

Malkangiri: Hours after the report of Maoists abducting five poll officials in the cut-off areas of Chitrakonda in the district, the police confirmed that the report was a rumour and fake and no officials were abducted.

“There is no substance of Maoists kidnapping the officials. This is a rumour and based on fake information. Investigation is underway on it. Three of the five officials have returned while two are on their way. All are safe”, Malkangiri SDPO Rahul PR said.

“There is no report of Maoist threat to them. I think they might have left the office as no nomination papers are scheduled to be filed in the next two days due to holidays”, he added.

Earlier in the day, five persons- the election officers of Panasput,Jantri, Gajal Mamudi, Andrapalli and Jodamba panchayats and a former sarpanch of Jodamba, remained untraced raising fear they might be kidnapped even as DGP KB Singh and Home secretary Asit Tripathy had not confirmed it.

“There is a rumour in the area that they may have been kidnapped. But, this is not all confirmed. The district collector and Director General of Police have been asked to confirm,” Home secretary Asit Tripathy had said earlier in the day.

The DGP had also stated “I’m not sure whether they are kidnapped or what is their status. We’ve sent our men there to get information.”

The panchayat election officials had gone to the area on January 11 and are slated to return by January 18.
The report of abduction came when the process of filing nomination papers is on for the three-tier panchayat elections scheduled next month. Notably, the Maoists have warned the tribals of Malkangiri district to abstain from the poll.

Police had seized hand-written Maoist posters in Kudumulugumma about five days ago in which Malkangiri District Divisional Committee of Maoists asked people not to take part in the upcoming polls in any way.