Maoist rebels abduct two Italians on vacation in India

Maoist rebels say they abducted two Italians on vacation after they were spotted taking photos of women from one of India's indigenous tribes who were bathing in a river in the eastern state.

Biswaranjan Rout/AP
An Indian forest guard walks at a check post in the area where two Italian tourists were kidnapped by Maoists rebels in the Kandhamal district, of the Indian state of Orissa, Sunday. Maoist rebels have abducted two Italian men in a poor eastern Indian state and demanded that the state government stop all anti-Maoist operations in return for their release, police and the rebels said Sunday.

Maoist guerrillas have abducted two Italians on vacation in a remote district of India's Orissa state, marking a potential escalation of a decades-long rebel war considered India's most serious internal security threat.

"We have imprisoned two Italian tourists," Sabyasachi Panda, organizing secretary of the state committee of the outlawed Communist Party of India- Maoist, said in an audio message sent to local reporters and obtained by Reuters.

He said the tourists were seized after they were spotted taking photos of women from one of India's indigenous tribes who were bathing in a riverin the eastern state.

The Italian Foreign Ministry identified the abducted men as Paolo Bosusco and Claudio Colangelo. It said it was in contact with Indian police through its embassy.

Bosusco runs a travel agency called Orissa Adventurous Trekking and has been a regular visitor to India for the last 15 years, Italian media reported.

Indian Prime Minister Manmoham Singh has declared the longstanding rebellion the biggest single threat to internal security.

Hundreds die each year in violence linked to the insurgency but the guerrillas are not known for targeting foreigners.

At a news conference on Sunday, Orissa's home secretary UN Behera said the kidnapping took place on Saturday. Police say the tourists had been warned not to enter the area.

The Maoists say they are fighting for the rights of the poor and landless and stage ambushes in the swathe of eastern and central India in which they have a strong presence.

Panda gave a list of 13 demands to be met by Sunday to ensure the safety of the Italians, including the release of top  Maoist leaders from prison and an end to counter-insurgency operations in the state.

The extremists abducted two officials last year, but released them a week later after the government agreed to meet their demands.

The rebels draw recruits from tribal communities, which are often desperately poor and in areas where the state has little presence. Orissa this year promised to clamp down on travel agencies offering "human safaris" to remote tribal areas.

Tensions between India and Italy have been running high since Indian police arrested two Italian marines a month ago in the sourthern port of Kochi, accusing them of kiling two Indian fishermen. India has ignored repeated calls from the Italian government for the men to be released.

  • Additional reporting by Gavin Jones in Rome; writing by Mayank Bhardwaj; editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Ron Popeski
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Maoist rebels abduct two Italians on vacation in India
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today