Chhattisgarh crisis: Naxals set 48-hr deadline, families appeal for safe release
Raipur: The distraught families of the
four policemen kidnapped by Maoists in Chhattisgarh`s Bijapur district tonight appealed to the ultras not to kill the
hostages even as the 48-hour deadline set by the Naxals for
their safe release expires tomorrow.
The family members are worried about their safety and
some of them have left for Andhra Pradesh.
On the other hand, the state government said it will
take the help of social activists and local media for the safe
release of policemen kidnapped on September 19 from
Bhopalpatnam police area of the Naxal-affected district.
Principal Secretary (Home) N K Agarwal said that
all efforts are being taken in this regard.
The personnel were taken captives from an area
bordering Andhra Pradesh and police have information that they have been kept in the forest on the border, he said.
"Chhattisgarh is in constant touch with the Andhra
Pradesh government and has appealed to the social activists
and media in the neighbouring state to assist in unconditional release of the policemen," Agarwal said.
Chief Minister Raman Singh today held a high-level
meeting, where he directed the officials to ensure that the
policemen are freed unharmed, he said.
Religious leader Swami Agnivesh appealed to the
Maoists not to harm four policemen. "I appeal to Maoists that now they have taken hostage of them as PoWs, no bodily harm should be done to them," Agnivesh said.
Maoist sympathiser Vara Vara Rao and Singh, among
others, have appealed to the Maoists to free Assistant
Sub-Inspector Sukhruram Bhagat, constables Narendra Bhosale, Subhash Patre and B Toppo.
About the 48-hour deadline set by the ultras, Agarwal
said the government is looking into their demands.
Earlier, state Home Minister Nanki Ram Kanwar said the
government has become active in its approach to ensure the
safe release of policemen.
"The Naxals have demanded halting the state
government`s Operation Green Hunt against them, releasing
imprisoned cadres, curtailing police atrocities and initiating
peace talks in exchange of the abducted policemen," he said.
Kanwar said he has directed the senior police officers
to verify the letter of demands received from Naxals since it
reached government through local media last night.
"They have set a deadline of 48 hours for the state
government to comply with their demands," the minister said.
"The deadline given is not sufficient, as the decision
of calling back paramilitary forces from Naxals infested areas
and releasing of Naxals from jails cannot be taken in hurry,"
Kanwar said, adding the government was thinking over the
demands. The deadline ends tomorrow night.
Seven policemen, including an Assistant Sub Inspector,
a SPO and three constables, were abducted by Naxals on
September 19 from Bhopalpatnam near Chhattisgarh-Andhra Pradesh border.
The bodies of three of them were discovered
two days later with Maoist literature.
According to police, a woman relative of SPO is also
in Naxal captivity.
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