• (Representational image) Paramilitary forces take cover during a gunfight with Maoists in Lalgarh.Reuters
  • Narendra ModiIANS

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the Naxal heartland in Chhattisgarh on Saturday, the Maoists reportedly took about 300 locals hostage. The police have, however, denied the kidnappings. 

The villagers were said to have been travelling to attend Modi's function in Dantewada when they were taken hostage by the naxals in Sukma district, as per reports. However, officials said that only about six people have been held, and the incident was not connected to the PM's visit. 

Modi made his first visit to the Naxal-affected Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region after taking over as prime minister, where he inaugurated two projects, including a steel plant and the second phase of a 140 km railway line.


3.30 pm (IST): The condition of hostages and the exact number of people being held by Naxals in Chhattisgarh is still not clear, as contradicting reports have emerged.

Bastar Range IG RP Kalluri was quoted saying that only 5-6 labourers working on a bridge were taken hostage by the Maoists, while the Sukma additional superintendent of police Harish Rathore said that around 400 to 500 villagers had been "taken away" by the Naxals into the jungles. 

"Reports of 400-500 people being held are a fiction created by media," Inspector General (IG) of Bastar I.G Kalluri," said, according to IANS. 

"Only five to six people have been held by the Maoists. We are negotiating with them to free the people," he added. 

1.39 pm (IST): Officials are saying that only a few people have been held by the Naxals, and the kidnapping is not linked to the PM's visit. 

1.30 pm (IST): PM Modi addressed a rally in the Naxal hotbed of Dantewada on Saturday, hitting out at Naxal violence in the region. 

 1.02 pm (IST): According to the Press Trust of India, the 500 villagers who were abducted on Friday night were not travelling to attend PM Modi's rally, but were kidnapped as the Naxals were angered over their support to the construction of a bridge on a river in Sukma district.

"Large number of armed cadres stormed into Marenga and adjoining villages under restive Tongpal police station limits late last night and took away 400-500 villagers, including women and children, along with them," Sukma Additional Superintendent of Police, Harish Rathore told PTI.

12.07 pm (IST): 


12.03 pm (IST): Sukma SP has told TIMES NOW that the situation of Maoists holding villagers captive is 'not hostile'. 

"It is wrong to call it an abduction," he has told the news channel. 

11.45 am (IST): Modi is taking questions from students, who have asked him if his 18-hr working schedule leaves him tired.


11.30 am (IST): BJP leader Srichand Sundrani called the Naxals' kidnapping of villagers a 'cowardly act'. 

11.20 am (IST): Modi has reached Education City in Chhattisgarh where he is interacting with students. 

11.10 am (IST): Modi was received by Chhattisgarh chief Minister Raman Singh on Saturday. 

The Naxals had called for a bandh to protest Modi's visit, and had blocked roads and held effigies of Modi and Singh, according to reports. 

Modi is also expected to visit Education City and Livelihood College in Dantewada.