Maoists have kidnapped five people, including a junior engineer in Jharkhand's Simdega district in two separate incidents on Saturday.
In one incident, guerrillas of the outlawed Pahari Cheetha (Hill Panther) outfit abducted junior engineer Ranjeet Kumar as he was returning home from his office.
In another incident, four construction labourers working at the Ramrekha Dam site for the Vijeyata Construction Company were also abducted.
Hostages were taken away in a pickup van of the construction company. The rebels feed on the resentment of millions of poor people who have no share in the benefits of a boom in India's economy.
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had on February 12 defended the use of force against Maoists, saying it was a legitimate right of the government to establish law and order, build infrastructure and set up welfare measures.
He expressed confidence that the Centre would be able to get rid of the Maoist menace over the next four years; thereby assuring that once the areas are cleared of Maoist elements, development work can be pursued expeditiously.
Referring to the reported offer of talks made by the Maoists through the media recently, Chidambaram said, "Why aren't the Maoists making a simple statement that we abjure violence?"
The Maoist rebels are apparently waiting for a respite from a security forces' operation against them.