Koraput : A tribal MLA of the ruling BJD in Odisha was abducted by Maoists in Koraput district in the early hours today, police said.
Jhina Hikaka, legislator from Laxmipur, was returning home from Koraput when more than 50 armed rebels stopped his vehicle near Toyaput, Koraput Superintendent of Police Avinash Kumar said.
While the personal security officer (PSO) and driver of the MLA were allowed to leave, Hikaka was taken away into the nearby forest, about 40 km from here by the ultras at gunpoint, he said.
The PSO and driver informed the Laxmipur police station about the incident, the Kumar said, adding steps have been initiated to ascertain the whereabouts of the legislator.
The abduction came 10 days after the Maoists took two Italians hostage from Kandhamal district on March 14 and talks were in progress between rebel-nominated negotiators and government representatives to resolve the crisis.
The incident happened hours after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik appealed to the rebels to desist from violence.
Meanwhile, Maoist negotiators engaged to end the Italian hostage crisis - B D Sharma and Dandapani Mohanty - have appealed to the Maoists to release the legislator without delay.