Maoists free abducted cops in Chhattisgarh (Third Lead)

Friday, February 11, 2011

RAIPUR - Maoists released five Chhattisgarh policemen Friday night in the state’s restive Bastar region whom they had abducted Jan 25 from a passenger bus. The rebels handed over the policemen to a team of social and rights activists led by Swami Agnivesh.

Local TV channels, whose crews had accompanied Agnivesh, aired footage in which the policemen were seen crying while hugging their relatives.

The channels reported that the policemen were released at a “jan adalat” where over a thousand Maoists were present. They claimed that the Maoists had released the policemen on the condition that they would quit the police job.

The state government had suspended combing in the entire Narayanpur district Friday on the request of Agnivesh to facilitate safe release of the policemen who belong to poverty-hit families.

The abducted policemen - three head constables - Raghunandan Dhruv, Ramadhar Patel, T. Ekka, and two constables - Ranjan Dubey and Manishankar - are from Chhattisgarh Armed Forces (CAF). They were released in a thickly forested area in Narayanpur district that falls under Abujhmad area.

The nearly 4,000 sq km Abujhmad area is home to India’s top Maoist leaders for decades where police don’t venture as it is protected by multiple layers of landmines. Policemen claim that it is one of India’s most densely forested areas where even the sun’s rays barely penetrate.

Armed Maoists stormed a passenger bus Jan 25 in an interior location in Narayanpur district and abducted five CAF personnel besides a civilian. They released the civilian a few days later but kept the security personnel in their captivity.

The policemen, who were unarmed and not in police uniform, were going to the district headquarters in Narayanpur town from their posting in an interior area after being granted leave.

One of the journalists who was part of the team that travelled with Agnivesh to the Maoists bastion, said: “It was a rare reunion of relatives when Maoists allowed them to meet abducted cops before they were finally released.”

The male and female family members of the policemen travelled by foot for several kilometres in the Maoist-commanded jungle pocket. They broke down and hugged the policemen when the rebels produced them before the team.

The relatives thanked the rebels for freeing the policemen and taking care of them during the period of abduction.

Filed under: Terrorism

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