Maoists rebels kidnapped an Indian lawmaker in the eastern state of Orissa early Saturday, police said, a week after the left-wing militants abducted two Italian nationals.
A group of armed men snatched state legislature member Jhina Hikaka, 37, when he was being driven through a hilly area, 450 kilometres (280 miles) from state capital Bhubaneswar, police said.
"The (rebels) stopped Hikaka's car and took him away. The rebels left the lawmaker's car on the spot, stuffing it with their propaganda posters," police officer Suryamani Pradhan told AFP.
Pradhan said the leaflets left in Hikaka's car listed the same 13 demands set for the release of Italians Paolo Bosusco and Claudio Colangelo, who were taken hostage last week.
The demands include a ban on tourists visiting tribal areas, an end to the government's anti-rebel operations and release of jailed Maoist leaders.
Two rebel-appointed negotiators held talks with Orissa government officials until late on Friday on releasing the Italians, and the talks were slated to continue on Saturday, but there was no official word on their progress.
Orissa is one of a string of states where Maoist rebels have been waging a decades-long armed battle to overthrow the government.
The kidnapped politician is a backbench member of Orissa's ruling right-wing Biju Janata Dal government.
It was not immediately clear if his abduction was by the same branch of the rebels who seized the Italians in another part of the state.
The abduction of the Italians, who were on an adventure holiday, is believed to be the first kidnapping ever of foreigners by the guerrillas.
In 2010, the insurgents -- who have a presence in over 20 of India's 29 states -- were blamed for derailing an Indian train, killing at least 80 people.
The insurgency, which began in 1967, feeds off land disputes, police brutality and corruption, and is strongest in the poorest and most deprived areas of India, many of which are rich in natural resources.
The rebels say they are fighting for the rights of neglected tribal people and landless farmers and their ultimate goal is to capture India's cities and overthrow parliament.
Hostage-taking is a familiar technique of the Maoists, who are based in the forests of central and eastern India, but victims in the past have been mostly policemen or government officials -- some of whom have been executed.
Source: AFP South Asian Edition