Maoists release Chhattisgarh cops, keep weapons

"Maoists have released both the cops - Khemchand Sahu and Jitendra Patel - unharmed," Inspector General of Police (Bastar) T.J. Longkumer told IANS.  He, however, refused to comment whether police conceded the demands of the Maoists. 

A military unit of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) had set the condition that several local people who were in police custody after allegedly being labelled as Maoists, should be released if the government wanted to get safe release of the abducted policemen.

Longkumer added that the two policemen were released at a forested location in Antagarh in Kanker district and later brought to Narayanpur district where police officers had sent them for a mandatory health check-up.

He also revealed that the Maoists had kept the policemen's INSAS rifles and some bullets.
Sources say that the policemen had been carrying at least 120 round of bullets at the time when they had gone missing in Maoist-dominated Erka forest of Narayanpur district while on an anti-Maoist offensive with a 90-member contingent drawn from the district force and special police officers.

The safe release of the policemen had brought a big relief of their poverty-hit family members who were camping in Narayanpur town, headquarters of Narayanpur district, and had repeatedly appealed to the state government to ensure the safe release of the abducted policemen.

They had also appealed to Maoists to release the two men, saying they belong to poor families and have no enmity with the rebels.

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