Jagdalpur: Chhattisgarh Police on Monday intensified searches in the jungles of Bijapur district to rescue four policemen abducted by Maoists, a day after the rebels set a 48-hour deadline for accepting their demands for their release.
"We are doing the best to track down the Maoists who are shifting an assistant sub-inspector, S Bhagat, and three constables from one densely forested location to another between Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. The jungle search for rescuing them has been stepped up," Superintendent of Police (Bijapur) RN Das said.
Maoists had kidnapped seven policemen on September 19 from Bhopalpatnam area of Bijapur, over 500 km south of state capital Raipur, close to the Andhra Pradesh border. The rebels had killed three of them a day later.
After a week of uncertainty over the fate of the abducted cops, Maoists Sunday set a 48-hour deadline for releasing them.
Chhattisgarh Director General of Police Vishwa Ranjan Sunday night said police had found a few handwritten leaflets from Bhopalpatanam area in which rebels had stated their demands, including stopping the anti-Maoist drive.
He added police were also trying to verify whether the letter is genuinely written by the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist).
"The letter has stated demands for scrapping the anti-Maoist drive, Green Hunt, releasing a few people of four villages, stopping alleged police atrocities and initiating peace talk," Ranjan said.
He said those "villagers" whose release the Maoists had demanded were actually village-level cadres of Maoists arrested on charges of involvement in unlawful activities.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has also appealed to the Maoists to release the policemen on humanitarian grounds. The state government claims to be in touch with neighbouring Andhra Pradesh to achieve a breakthrough in the hostage crisis.