Maoists release abducted villagers

Bhubaneswar: Maoists today released 11 persons whom they had abducted from Mahupadar village in Mathili block of Malkangiri district in last two days.

Sources said the captives were freed after being deposed in a ‘praja court’ (kangaroo court) conducted deep inside a forest on Odisha-Chhattisgarh border.

While eight persons were abducted yesterday, the extremists kidnapped two more – forest guard Pintu Durua and Laxman Kumbhara – from the village in the wee hours of today. However, details about the 11th person released are yet to be ascertained.

According to family members of the kidnapped persons, a group of 30 armed people stormed into the village last night and called out the eight villagers. They later took the abductees, including the husband of a local Samiti member, to the forest at gun-point.

Even as the reason behind the abduction is not clear, the sources said the ‘Maoists’ suspected them of being ‘police informers’. People of Mahupadar were in panicky after the incident.

Police had launched search operations in and around the village. Besides, patrolling was also intensified by the security personnel to prevent any untoward incident in the area.