Six villagers missing since Monday’s anti-Maoist operation

Malkangiri: At least six persons, including three women, from nearby areas of Monday’s encounter site, where 28 Maoists were killed, are reportedly missing, police said today.

A group of villagers, mostly from Panasput and Jodamba gram panchayats on Andhra Pradesh-Odisha border, today met Malkangiri Superintendent of Police Mitrabhanu Mohapatra and told him that the ultras had picked up six persons, including three women, from their villages.

They appealed to him to help trace the missing persons.

Suspecting their possible death in the October 24 encounter, police showed the villagers the bodies of the ultras which remained unclaimed so far. However, they could not recognise any of the bodies as those have started decomposing, a police official said.

The villagers also appealed to the SP to release Laikhan Golari, a youth from Khajuriguda village who was arrested after being found near the encounter site on Monday.

The villagers claimed that Golari was innocent with no record of any association with the Maoists and he might have gone to the site out of curiosity.

Meanwhile, state Home Secretary Asit Tripathy said of the 28 people killed in the encounter, 18 have been identified and the bodies were handed over to their family.

Revolutionary poet Varavara Rao, who accompanied the family members of the slain Maoists, said 18 of the 28 killed are rebels and the remaining 10 are from local villages. They might have come to the Maoist camp to cook and do odd jobs, he said.