State and Central intelligence agencies are probing the involvement of Naxal elements behind the abduction of Banswara legislator Arjun Singh Bamnia. The Congressman was kept hostage until he signed a declaration stating that he will oppose a proposed nuclear power plant in the area.
On the face of it though, it appears that Kanti Lal Maeda, sarpanch of Bari and son of former Minister Dali Chand Maeda, was behind the kidnapping of the MLA.
But law enforcement agencies are not ruling out the infiltration of Maoist elements among the group of armed tribals that kidnapped the politician for a night on Sunday. He eventually relented and declared in writing that he would oppose the nuclear power project near Bari in Katumbi area of the district.
Intelligence sources said that the way the tribesmen were equipped with arms and had attacked the police party reeked of the way the Red ultras in adjoining Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh operated.
Intelligence agencies had information that with the mounting pressure of police on Naxal elements in Chhattisgarh and MP, the rebels were fleeing to tribal dominated districts of Banswara, Dungarpur and Pratapgarh in search of safety. At the same time they were making efforts to mobilise tribals to embrace their ideology and become a part of their network, sources said.
On Sunday night when, Bamnia was returning from Kota after attending a function, an armed mob of about hundred people stopped him near Bari. The mob was lead by Bari sarpanch Maeda, who had also served as a Minister of State briefly in the early nineties.
The legislator was taken to Dali Chand’s house which was surrounded by a large armed crowed to foil any attempts by the police to rescue the Bamnia. When he initially refused to sign a declaration to oppose the nuclear power project, he was allegedly thrashed by those present.
When a police party, lead by ASP Pankaj Kumar reached the village to rescue Bamnia, it was attacked by the armed mob. A police vehicle was damage and SHO of the area Bhanwar Singh received injuries.
As information about the kidnapping of a Congress MLA reached the State headquarters, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and chief secretary CK Mathew swung into action. He was released at around 2 am on Monday after he signed the letter addressed to the Chief Minister, opposing the nuclear power plant in the area. Sources said the way in which the entire incident panned out has given authorities strong indication that a Naxalite hand may be involved.