Hundreds Held Hostage by Maoists

Hundreds Held Hostage by MaoistsHundreds Held Hostage by Maoists

Maoist rebels in India rounded up large number of villagers on Saturday and took them to undisclosed destination in forest in nearby Sukma district, hours before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Chhattisgarh’s Maoist hotbed Dantewada district.

More than 300 villagers were reportedly held hostage by rebels. According to preliminary reports, all the villagers include men and have been taken to forest, Times of India reported.

Modi made a strong pitch for development on Saturday in Maoist-hit Dantewada region and vowed to fight for peace.

“I am sure that humanity exists in them and they will change. Violence has no future, but peace does,” said the PM, who was in the state to sign two memoranda of understanding for a mega steel plant and the second phase of the Rowghat-Jagdalpur railway line.

It is believed that hundreds of villagers who have been held hostage were going to attend Modi’s public meeting in Dantewada. Maoists had announced of boycotting the prime minister’s visit.

Some reports claimed Maoists took the villagers hostage the previous night at Morenga --- 80kms from where Modi attended the meeting, while police officials said anywhere between 400 and 500 villagers were taken away to the jungles by the rebels opposing construction of a bridge.

Maoists in the Dantewada region had earlier called for a two-day strike and appealed to villagers to boycott the PM’s visit that was aimed at giving a development push to the backward region. Modi, however, stressed growth and spread of education in his brief speech.