Maoists abduct district collector in Orissa (Second Lead)

February 17th, 2011 - 11:00 am ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Feb 17 (IANS) The collector of Orissa’s Malkangiri district, who went missing Wednesday evening, has been kidnapped by the Maoists who have set two conditions for his release, authorities said Thursday. It is for the first time the rebels have taken hostage of an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer in the state.

Police and local authorities began search operations after the IAS officer, R. Veenel Krishna, did not return to the district headquarters late Wednesday evening from the Maoist strong hold Chitrakonda area where he along with several other officials had gone to attend public relation meetings the same morning.

As per the information reaching here, Krishna and a government official were abducted by the Maoists, a senior official of the state intelligence department told IANS.

Another government official, who witnessed the abduction, has returned to the district headquarters with a note from the Maoists according to which the rebels have given a 48-hour ultimatum and have set conditions to free the officials, he said.

The conditions include halting of anti-Maoist operation in the area and the release of all the Maoists arrested in the past, he said.

Krishna, 30, a native of Chanda Nagar, a suburb of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh joined IAS in August 2005 after he graduated from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He was posted as the administrative head of the Malkangiri district 16 months ago.

Earlier, home secretary U.N. Behera said: “We are hearing that he has been abducted by Maoists but we are verifying.”

“I have been trying to contact him but have not been able to because his mobile phone was switched off. We are trying to find out what exactly has happened,” he said.

Additional District Magistrate S.L. Seal said the whereabouts of Krishna and two-three other officials have not yet been ascertained.

Inspector General of Police (operation) Sanjeev Marik said efforts are on to locate the district collector.

Maoists are active in more than half of Orissa’s 30 districts. Malkangiri, about 615 km from here, is considered one of the strong hold of the Maoists.

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