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Maoists in Odisha release Aadhaar enrolment staff after warning: halt the process!

Malkangiri (Odisha), July 26 (PTI & Online Bureau): Armed Maoists abducted four personnel from an Aadhaar enrolment camp in Odisha's Malkangiri district but freed them later with a warning to halt the process, a senior official said on Saturday.

Malkangiri district Collector D Prashant Kumar Reddy said enrolment for Aadhaar in the area has been suspended after the incident.

The Aadhaar 12-digit identification number being issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is designed to enable direct cash transfers to the poor for better targeting of subsidies, among other things.

So far, 64.23 crore Aadhaar numbers have been generated all over the country, according to a government statement in Parliament on July 11.

A group of armed ultras struck on Friday when Aadhaar enrolment was in progress at Tekguda primary school in Kalimela area, about 50km from here, the district Collector said.

After surrounding the enrollers, the naxals took away four of the seven personnel from the enrolment venue into the nearby forest, he said.

The ultras also took away laptops, computers, cameras and other equipment.

All the four abducted persons were released after the Maoists grilled them thoroughly about the enrolment operations and verified their identity documents, the Collector said.

Efforts were on to recover the laptops and other gadgets taken away by the ultras, he said.

The four personnel were set free with a warning that the enrolment process be stopped, he said. The rebels have sent a letter asking officials to halt the enrolment drive in the region forthwith, the police said.

Security has been tightened in the area after the incident and investigation is on, Inspector In-Charge of Kalimela police station S.K. Nayak said.