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Poll officers missing in naxal affected Malkangiri triggers panic

Asit Tripathy, Secretary, Home, had during the day told the media that the state was yet to hear from them.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jan 13, 2017, 08.23 PM IST
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While Malkangiri has seen record number of surrenders from Maoists cadres, it also saw a serious exchange last October when about 30 left wing extremists were killed.

Representative Image.
While Malkangiri has seen record number of surrenders from Maoists cadres, it also saw a serious exchange last October when about 30 left wing extremists were killed. Representative Image.
BHUBANESHWAR: Poll officers, and a local escorting them, are feared to have been kidnapped by left wing extremists in Odisha’s southernmost district of Malkangiri. Police was yet to confirm whether the officials who had gone to areas cut off by a reservoir in Chitrakonda block, to collect nomination papers for the upcoming Panchayat elections in February were kidnapped or unreachable.

Initial reports suggested all five officials, Kamini Kanta Singh, Purusottam Behera, Lingaraj Majhi, P Soren and Hrusikesh Nayak, and a former sarpanch’s son Manoranjan Sisa, may have been abducted. At the time of filing this report though, Malkangiri SP Mitrabhanu Mohapatra told ET they had managed to trace three of the missing six, and dismissed the kidnapping reports.

There was no still no information on the specific whereabouts of the other three though. Asit Tripathy, Secretary, Home, had during the day told the media that the state was yet to hear from them but also pointed out that those areas had very poor connectivity. The five had gone to Panasput panchayat on January 11 and are only due to return by 18 January.

As per the drill, they are required to return to a spot that has telecom signals every evening and call their seniors at 5.30 pm. While they had done so, on Thursday evening, the men had been unreachable on Friday morning when reports of their abduction began to do the rounds.

While Malkangiri has seen record number of surrenders from Maoists cadres, it also saw a serious exchange last October when about 30 left wing extremists were killed in an alleged exchange of fire with the security personnel.
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