Staff Reporter

BERHAMPUR: With the killing of a former Zilla Parishad president on Saturday night, the Maoists hinted that their threat against politicians during coming elections Malkangiri district for real.

Suspected Maoists killed former Malkangiri Zilla Parishad president and tribal leader Nanda Kumar Kartami near Sikhpalli at a distance of around 15 km from Malkangiri town. Kartami was a popular political leader, who had recently resigned from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He was an aspirant for BJP ticket for Malkangiri Assembly seat. He had resigned from the BJP when he was denied the party ticket.

According to police sources, he fell victim to the bullets of suspected Maoists at around 9 pm on Saturday while he was travelling on his bike on the Sikhpalli-Padia road. He was on his way to his home in Padia block. It is suspected that he was stopped midway by gunmen and shot from close range. He received bullet wounds on his forehead. Police recovered empty cases of two bullets from the spot. The body of the Kartami was located and identified on Sunday morning. A massive combing operation has been launched to nab the extremists. Murder of this popular tribal leader has shocked the political activists as well as voters in Malkangiri district. Since past few weeks Maoists have put up posters asking people of Malkangiri district to boycott the coming polls. The posters also warned the political activists to refrain from campaigning and other political activities. The naxals threatened politicians to face dire consequences if they took part in electoral process.

The leftist extremists had started causing damages to government building in remote areas of the district so that they could not be used as camping places for para-military forces during the election process. Last week Maoists razed a police outpost, a government building and damaged a BSNL communication tower at Padia. During past two months naxals have also tried to damage government buildings in the district which includes block office, schools in remote areas.