Patna: Nearly a week after the Maoists released three Bihar policemen abducted by them after a bloody encounter with security forces in the dense forests of Lakhisarai, a much relieved Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said that all is well that ends well.
The Chief Minister, while addressing a press conference in state’s capital Patna, officially confirmed that Bihar hostage crisis has ended with the safe release of the three abducted policemen.
“I would like to thank all those intellectuals from all over the country who raised their voices in support of the abducted policemen, various political parties of Bihar, security forces, people of Bihar and the media for extending their full support during the crisis. We are relived that the crisis has now ended. I am also grateful to all political parties of Bihar, which supported the stand taken by our government and made a joint appeal to the Maoists to get the three policemen freed."
“A joint appeal by political parties as well as public pressure helped secure the release of the three policemen who were abducted by Maoists over a week ago, “he further added.
Elaborating on the development, Kumar said, “We are happy that all three policemen are safe and in a good health. They are being ferried to their respective families. But I also lament the death of one of our brave policeman, Lukas Tete, whose dead body was recovered later.”
The Chief Minister also made an appeal to the Maoists to lay down arms and come to mainstream for a speedier resolution of all their problems.
"I would appeal to the Maoists to abjure violence and enter the mainstream of democracy. What is the need of waging guerrilla warfare against a democracy? They need to understand that any problem in this world can be resolved through negotiation. We regret that they rejected our offer for talks during the crisis. If they are ready for talks it would be good for everyone, for them and the tribal people they claim to represent,” he stated.
However, he clarified that there was no deal with the Maoists to sett fre the abducted cops.
"There was no deal with the Maoists...I`m grateful to all political parties for making a joint appeal to the Maoists to get the three policemen freed," Nitish Kumar told reporters here.
Taking a serious note of the hostage crisis, Nitish Kumar warned that we need to take extra care in view of the upcoming assembly polls.
In an appeal to the Election Commission of India, Kumar said, “The hostage crisis has taken place at a time when the elections are due in Bihar. The Elecetion Commission will probably announce the date of assembly polls in the state in three-four days but before that we want to appeal the EC to make elaborate arrangement after assessing the situation and the threat emanating from the Maoist before anno8ncing the date. We demand a hundred percent central assistance, additional central forces, helicopters and necessary equipments in order to conduct free and fair elections.”
“It is the collective responsibility of the EC, Central and the state government to create a terror-free environment to make sure that voters in Bihar exercise their votes freely,” Kumar said.
The appeal from the Bihar Chief Minister came shortly after the Maoist guerrillas released the three abducted Bihar cops - Ehsan Khan, Abhay Kumar Yadav and Rupesh Kumar Sinha - in Lakhisarai district ending an eight-day hostage crisis.
This was also confirmed by the state police chief Neelmani, who said, “The three policemen have been freed by the Maoists. They are safe and healthy. They will be sent to their homes soon.”
The three policemen were set free around 6 am in Lakho Chak area of Lakhisarai district, about 150 km from here. They are now in police custody.
"Top police officials and Lakhisarai district magistrate have been talking to the released policemen. They will be brought before the media soon," the police official said.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the police station in Lakhisarai town to have a glimpse of the three released policemen. Reports reaching here said that there is a festival-like air in the homes of the three released policemen.
The release comes days after the bullet-riddled body of Lucas Tete, another abducted policemen, was found near a forest in Lakhisarai district. He was killed by the Maoists Sep 3.
The four policemen were abducted by Maoists after a six-hour gunfight in Lakhisarai Aug 29.
The gunbattle left seven policemen dead and 10 injured. The Maoists claimed the gunfight was in retaliation for the killing of their leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad and a journalist on the night of July 1-2 in Andhra Pradesh.