Raipur(PTI): Maoist rebels Saturday abducted the Sukma district collector in Chhattisgarh and shot dead his two guards who tried to resist them, police said.
Alex Paul Menon, 32, an Indian Administrative Service officer of the 2006 batch, was abducted by nearly a dozen guerrillas from a government-function organised in an interior belt, some 500 km south of state capital Raipur, said officials at the police headquarters here.
The Maoists, who were present at the function in plain clothes, walked up to the collector around 4.45 p.m. and tried to take him with them. When Menon’s two guards tried to resist them, the rebels shot them dead, an official said.
The collector was taken to a forested area, police said. Chhattisgarh’s Director General of Police Anil M. Navaney convened an emergency meeting here on the issue. The state government has issued an alert in the areas adjoining Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, which share their border with Sukma district.
“The collector has been kidnapped by over a dozen Maoists. The Maoists waited for the collector for over an hour at the government function in Kerlapal area,” a police official based in the state’s troubled Bastar region told IANS.
Sukma district is part of the Bastar region and the district was carved out in January this year from Dantewada district. The abduction came just a day after the Maoists carried out a deadly attack on a convoy of state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Mahesh Gagda and Bijapur District Collector Rajat Kumar in his district, killing three people.
Chief Minister Raman Singh and Home Minister Nankiram Kanwar have appealed to the guerrillas to release the collector immediately. They described the incident as an act of “cowardice”.
The state government is facing criticism from the opposition Congress for pushing the officials since April 18 to visit the Maoist-affected areas to make rural drive ‘Gram Suraj’ successful.
The government has refused to suspend the two-phased drive that will conclude April 27.