A Canadian tourist has been reported missing since Sunday from the troubled region of Bastar in Chhattisgarh. Police have ruled out the possibly of abduction by Maoists but said that the insurgents had stopped him and were trying to verify his identity, PTI reported. John Schlazak, 25, is believed to have left Mumbai on March 14 and arrive in the insurgency-hit region on March 16 on his cycle, The Hindu reported.
“He is believed to be in Singamadgu village [Sukma district] with members of [local Maoist group] Sangham,” Sukma Superintendent of Police Abhishek Meena told PTI. He claimed that the Canadian was safe, and that villagers will let him go after verifying that he is a tourist with no allegiances. Meena believes that it was a case of miscommunication, according to the English daily.
Chhattisgarh Police said they had conducted a search for the Canadian national. “He has not been abducted,” said DM Awasthi, special director general of police in charge of Chhattisgarh’s Anti-Naxal Operations unit.
However, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said on Twitter that she had sought a report from Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as Schlazak was believed to have been abducted from the state’s Koraput district.