An Accredited Social Health Activist and two anganwadi workers in Chhattisgarh were abducted allegedly by Maoist fighters from a village in Bijapur district early on Friday. The incident took place around 1.30 am on Friday in Kankanar village, located about 25 km from Bijapur, the district’s Chief Medical and Health Officer BR Pujari told

“Some notorious elements came into the village late in the night and took away the health care workers,” Pujari said. “Chances are that they [Maoists] are behind this, but there is no confirmation yet.”

The health official said the families of the health care workers did not file a complaint, but a few villagers approached the police with the matter on Friday. The police are yet to register a case, Pujari added.

Accredited Social Health Activists or ASHAs are community health workers that work under the health department, while anganwadi workers look after the health and nutritional needs of children and report to the women and child welfare department. In Chhattisgarh, Accredited Social Health Activist or ASHAs are called mitanins. The missing ASHA in Bijapur is a mitanin trainer.

Bijapur was recently in the news after a security officer, who was abducted by Maoists, was kept hostage by them in the jungles of the district since the April 3 encounter in the state. Central Reserve Police Force commando Rakeshwar Singh Manhas was released on Thursday.

Twenty-two security personnel were killed and 30 others were wounded in the gunfight in the four-hour gun battle with Maoists that took place on April 2. This was the bloodiest ambush of its kind in four years. The fighting erupted when security forces raided a Maoist hideout in Bijapur district, but were ambushed by the Naxalites.