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Maoists free abducted Bihar policemen

By The Assam Tribune

Patna, Sept 5 (IANS): Two days after Maoists killed policeman Lucas Tete, the ultra Leftwing rebels today freed the three other policemen they had abducted a week ago, the local media reported. However, the police have declined to confirm the development.

The three policemen - Abhay Prasad Yadav, Rupesh Kumar Sinha and Ehsan Khan - were reportedly released by their captors in a jungle area between Lakhisarai and Jamui districts, local journalists said.

Rajni Devi, wife of Abhay Kumar Yadav, told reporters at her residence in Begusarai district that a Maoist leader visited her house early Sunday and told her that her husband and his two colleagues had been let off.

"I am very happy and hoping that my husband will come home soon," Rajni Devi said.

The release comes two days after the bullet-riddled body of Lucas Tete was found near a forest in Lakhisarai district. He had been killed by the Maoists.

Family members of Rupesh in Bettiah district and Ehsan's family in Ranchi in Jharkhand said are eagerly waiting for the men to return.

"We are happy to hear that my son Ehsan and other policemen have been released by the Maoists. We are waiting to welcome him," Ehsan's aged father Mohiuddin Khan told IANS over telephone.

Director General of Police Neelmani, however, declined to confirm the development.

"We are not in a position to say anything unless the three abducted men return to their homes," he said here.

Maoist spokesperson Avinash Saturday claimed the three policemen were safe.

They were abducted by Maoists after a six-hour gunfight in Lakhisarai last Sunday.

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.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar held an all-party meeting Saturday evening and said that the state government would hold talks with the Maoists on their demand for the release of eight jailed commanders in exchange for the three abducted policemen.

All the political parties appealed to the Maoists to release the three policemen, he said.

Nitish Kumar said the Maoists should come forward for face-to-face talk with the state government.

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