Three policemen have been abducted, allegedly by tribals in Jharkhand, after the police started search operations in the villages of the Khunti area for the men who had raped five activists last week. The police said initial investigations into the kidnapping suggest the involvement of supporters of "Pathalgarhi" - an anti-establishment, self-rule movement in parts of the state's tribal belt.
BJP lawmaker Karia Munda, at whose home the three policemen were posted as security personnel, said: "There is no doubt that they (the kidnappers) were from 'Pathalgadi' community. They had come here to find someone. Their motive is to paralyse police administration to establish their (Pathalgadi) rule".
Mr Munda, one of the tallest tribal leaders in the state, has a house in the area, from where the policemen were abducted yesterday afternoon.
There has been widespread tension in the area since the police started raids to find the men involved in the rape, who are allegedly hiding in the villages.
Last week, a group of six men had abducted 11 activists from Khunti - an area around 100 km from state capital Ranchi. The activists, whose ranks included five women, had gone to the area to conduct an awareness campaign on human trafficking, one of the biggest threats to women in the area. The activists work for Asha Kiran, a non-profit supported by a local Christian missionary group.
The men had gangraped the women - who were between 20 and 35 years in age - for four hours, violated them with a pistol and a branch of tree and forced them to drink urine, the police said. They had also recorded videos of the assaults on their cellphone. Senior police officer RK Mullick said it was "not a crime of passion... it was a conspiracy to teach them a lesson".