Three policemen guarding the house of a Bharatiya Janata Party MP in Jharkhand’s Khunti district were abducted on Tuesday allegedly by the supporters of a tribal rebellion, reported Hindustan Times. The kidnap seems to be in retaliation to a police raid at a village to arrest two men accused of abducting and raping five women working with a non-governmental organisation.

According to the police, Kariya Munda’s guards at his home in Ghagra village were abducted just hours after the raid on Udbhuru village to arrest Yusuf Purty and John Jonas Tidu. Purty and Tidu escaped as over 2,000 villagers tried to stop the police contingent from entering the village.

Purty and Tidu are reportedly supporters of the Pathalgadi movement in Jharkhand. Pathalgadi is a traditional practice of writing information on stone plaques. This has taken the form of a protest, with several tribal villages in the state declaring their independence from government control. Stone plaques proclaiming the sovereignty of the village councils have been put up outside settlements across Khunti, Simdega, Gumla and West Singhbhum districts.

“It seems that Patthalgadi supporters helped them [Purty and Tidu] escape but we have attached their properties,” said Khunti Superintendent of Police Ashwini Kumar Sinha.

Following the raid, a few armed men reached the house of the BJP MP and abducted Subodh Kujur, Vinod Kerketta and Suyon Sureen, reported The Indian Express. Patthalgadi supporters also gathered in Ghaghra village and burned voter ID cards and Aadhaar cards while shouting slogans against the central and the state governments.

On Wednesday, the police fired tear gas shells and used baton-charged a mob at Ghaghra that was obstructing their operation to search the policemen.

Additional Director General of Police (Operations) RK Mullik said steps were being taken to rescue the three guards. “The police were entitled to take whatever action was required against the accused in the Khunti rape case and those supporting the Patthalgadi movement,” he added.

On June 19, a group of men allegedly raped five women working with a non-governmental organisation in Jharkhand. The women had gone to Chochang village to spread awareness on migration and human trafficking when the incident took place. The Jharkhand Police on Saturday arrested two people in connection with the case.