Naxals abduct junior footballer

Suspected Naxals abducted a national junior football player from his school in Maoist stronghold of Orcha in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur district, the police said on Thursday.

Sixteen-year-old tribal Palku Ram Mandavi, a student of Class 10, along with his classmate Lalu Tarasi, was forcibly taken away at gun points by a group of ultras, when they were attending summer sports coaching in their school on March 27. The coach, who was present there, did not dare to rescue them.

The rebels, however, released Lalu on Thursday. But, they held Palku hostage accusing him of spying for the police.

“The coach has reported Palku’s abduction to the local police on Thursday. The student, who was let off by the Maoists, told the police that both of them were grilled by ultras after their abduction to ascertain if they have any link with the police. However, the Naxals released him, holding Palku hostage,” Narayanpur district sub-divisional officer of police (SDOP) Deb Narayan Patel said.

Meanwhile, the local unit of National Student Union of India (NSUI) appealed to the Naxals to release Palku, who was a member of national junior football team, unharmed.

“We have issued an ultimatum to the ultras to release Palku within three weeks,” Narayanpur district NSUI unit president Amit Bhadra said.

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