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BackYou are here: NewsIndia Naxals set to release 5 abducted cops in Chhattisgarh on Feb 11

India

Naxals set to release 5 abducted cops in Chhattisgarh on Feb 11

Supriya Sharma & Mohua Chatterjee, TNN, Feb 9, 2011
RAIPUR\NEW DELHI: A delegation of civil society activists is expected to travel to Chhattisgarh on Thursday to secure the release of five policemen held hostage by Maoists since January 25.

The initiative comes following a telephonic conversation between Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh and social activist Swami Agnivesh on Tuesday. Swami Agnivesh had been contacted by Maoist leaders, who expressed their willingness to free the policemen in the presence of activists only if the security personnel stay away.

Agnivesh shared the Maoists' preconditions with Raman Singh, who assured him support. "The chief minister agreed to suspend combing operations by the police for 24 hours in the area to facilitate the release," said Agnivesh. "He has also promised that there will be no presence of the police and that we would be allowed to move freely," he added.

Government sources confirmed this. "The chief minister has welcomed any move that will bring the policemen back to safety,'' said an official.

Outlining the plans for the release, Agnivesh said he had persuaded Kavita Srivastava of PUCL, retired Justice Rajinder Sachar, writer-activist Gautam Navlakha and two of his colleagues --- Manu Singh and Harish Dhawan -- to travel with him. "We would arrive in Raipur on the 10th, and then proceed for Bastar. The transfer of hostages would take place on 11th, hopefully in the presence of the family members," he said.

Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations (CDRO) has also demanded that the government (whether state or Centre) "should not take any action that could hamper their release or endanger their lives".

CDRO, which is a central organisation for 27 human rights groups, has asked the government "to address the issues raised by CPI (Maoist) concerning false cases against villagers, forcible takeover of peoples land through signing of MOUs with corporates, and stop seeking a military solution to a political and economic issue".

The five policemen had been abducted by the Maoists from Narayanpur district on January 25 . The three head constables -- Ramadhar Patel, Raghunandan Dhruv, T Ekka -- and two constables -- Ranjan Dubey and Manishankar -- were going on leave when the ultras intercepted the bus they were travelling in. A civilian, Gulchand Patel, was also abducted, but was released a week later. Later, comrade Neeti of East Bastar Divisional Committee communicated to journalists an 11-point charter of demands for the release of the hostages.