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Maoists Release Three Abducted Bihar Policemen

Maoists on Monday released the three abducted Bihar policemen in Lakhisarai district bringing to end the nine-day-old hostage crisis, three days after another police officer was killed in captivity. The three policemen--Sub-inspectors Abhay Prasad Yadav
PTI September 06, 2010 15:59 IST
PTI
Maoists on Monday released the three abducted Bihar policemen in Lakhisarai district bringing to end the nine-day-old hostage crisis, three days after another police officer was killed in captivity.

The three policemen--Sub-inspectors Abhay Prasad Yadav and Rupesh Kumar Sinha and Bihar Military Police havildar Ehshan Khan--set free unconditionally near Simra Rari, 165 km from Patna, on the border of Chanan-Kajra forests and hills in Lakhisarai district on  Monday  morning, were unharmed and in good health and were reunited with their anxious families.

The release after several nerve wracking moments over the fate of the abducted men brought relief to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who was under intense pressure to secure the release of the hostages, security forces and the famiilies of the policemen.

"Finally it is over now and we are happy for that," said Kumar, adding there was no deal behind the policemen getting freedom. The Maoists had demanded the release of their eight jailed cadres in exchange for freeing the captive men and had set several deadlines. Celebrations broke out in the policemen's home villages, with residents distributing sweets, setting off fire crackers and offering prayers of thanks.

"I am alive because of God's grace and blessings of my parents and family. I am extremely happy," said Sinha. Voicing similar sentiments, Rajni Devi, wife of Abhay Prasad Yadav, said, "God heard my prayers and I thank him. I thank my Maoist brothers also, who released my husband.

Ehsan Khan's wife Farida Khanam said there is already an Eid atmosphere at her home following today's development. The festival falls this week-end.

The three men were released the same spot where the bullet-ridden body of the fourth hostage--BMP ASI Lucas Tete-- was found on Friday morning. The hostage crisis began on August 29 when the four policemen were kidnapped after an encounter, which left seven policemen dead and ten injured.

"All the three kidnapped policemen have been released by the Maoists after the police sealed their escape routes in the forests and hills," Director General of Police Neelmani told PTI. Senior doctor of Lakhisarai hospital Dharam Dev Singh said all the freed policemen were in good health.

"They are alright. They all are normal and fit," he said. The three were taken to a police station in Lakhisarai town by Superintendent of Police Ranjit Kumar Mishra, he said, adding the freed policemen later headed for their homes.

A relieved Kumar utilised the end of the hostage crisis to appeal to Maoists to shun violence and join the mainstream and also asked them to contest elections if they so desired. Assembly polls are due to be held in the end of this year.

"We welcome you to join the mainstream of the society, contest elections to form the government you desire. Violence will not resolee your grievances," Kumar told reportes in Patna just hours after the release of the three cops. He regretted Tete's killing.

Kumar also feared that the kidnapping incidents could recur in the state and demanded that all polling booths should be manned by security forces.

"Manning all booths with central forces can lead to holding elections in an atmosphere free from fear and will also not give a chance to opposition parties to allege that the deployment was biased or discriminatory," the chief minister said. PTI