"The youths were reported missing from forested pocket of Basaguda region of Bijapur bordering Maharashtra. Kutru is said to be the last place where they were seen by locals a few days back," Inspector General of Police, Bastar Range, SRP Kalluri, said.

As per preliminary information, the victims were identified as Aadrash Patil, Vilas Valake and Shrikirhna Shevale, he said.

The youths had launched a cycle rally under their "Bharat Jodo" (Link India) campaign to propagate the message of peace in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Odisha, the states worst affected by Naxalism over the past three decades, he said.

They had started their journey from Pune on December 20, and passing through several places of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, they were going to conclude it at Balamela in Odisha on January 10, he said.

"Though we are yet to receive any concrete or specific information about their abduction, we have mobilised security forces in the region to trace their location," he said.

Local intelligence is in constant touch with the relatives of the youths to get any clue about them, the IG added. However, no claims though pamphlets or posters have so far been made by Maoists regarding the abduction, he said.

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