A Panchayat Extension Officer, Abinas Bidika, was suspected to be abducted by Maoists in Narayanpatna block of Koraput district. The official was posted in Tentulipadar panchayat of the Maoist-affected area.

According to sources, he has been missing since Saturday afternoon. When contacted, Koraput Superintendent of Police Anup Sahu said it was suspected that Maoists abducted him with some nefarious intentions. Investigation and search operation was initiated in the area to trace the missing PEO, he added.

According to investigation, the PEO was suspected to be abducted between 2.30 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday. At that time he was returning to Tentulipadar after distributing old age pensions in some remote villages of the panchayat. But till Sunday afternoon Maoists did not come up with any missive in connection with the PEO's ‘abduction'.

If Maoists abducted the PEO, then the reason behind it must be to terrorise grassroot level government servants in Narayanpatna block, say police officials.

The grassroot level panchayat officials are key elements in implementation of pro-poor development programmes. In the past, there were instances when Maoists and their supporters tried to disrupt the Public Distribution System (PDS) meant for the benefit of the poor in the area.

Naxal presence

Jungles near Tentulipadar have presence of Maoists. It is suspected that they have camps in the area. They have also murdered civilians in Tentulipadar area in the past, according to Mr. Sahu.

On August 23, 2010, Maoists murdered one Sikunu Meleka at Tentulipadar. He was a former supporter of Maoists in Tentulipadar area of Narayanpatna block, who had got himself detached from the violent activities to lead a normal life.