KORAPUT: Fresh Maoist posters and banners urging locals to boycott the upcoming three-tier panchayat polls were spotted at various places in Malkangiri district on Tuesday.
Police seized a few posters put up by the Malkangiri divisional committee of the banned CPI (Maoist) from Chitrakonda in the district. “We appeal for poll boycott in the district. Anyone, who dares to contest the rural polls, will be punished in the praja court (kangaroo court of the Maoists). Also, those, who will cast vote, will be punished,” reads a Maoist banner spotted in Chitrakonda.
The latest development comes close on the heels of the release of five poll officials by the Maoists after producing them in a praja court in the cut-off area on Friday evening. The poll officials were freed with a warning not to come to the area in future for poll-related work.
Also, Maoist leader Jagabandhu, secretary of the Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of the CPI (Maoist) had urged people in Malkangiri to boycott the rural polls alleging lack of development in the region.
Though the fresh Maoist posters has created panic in the area, the administration claims to have taken necessary steps to conduct a free and fair election.
Barring the 10 panchayats of the cut-off region, the poll process is being conducted peacefully across the district. “At present, the situation is under control and necessary security measures are being taken to avoid any eventuality,” said collector (Malkangiri) K Sudarshan Chakravarthy. On January 10, the Maoists through posters put up at several places under Kudumulugumma block had urged locals to abstain in the upcoming rural polls.
Fearing Maoist strike, no nomination papers have been filed in the 10 panchayats situated inside the cut-off area under Chitrakonda block.