Maoists deliver a body and note for CM Nitish Kumar

MSN | Indian Express | PTI | 03/09/2010

The body of Lucas Gete, one of the four policemen abducted by Maoist guerrillas five days ago, was found in a Bihar forest on Friday, a day after the rebels claimed to have killed Sub-Inspector Abhay Kumar Yadav, police said. The body found in a forest in Lakhisarai district is of Lucas Tete and not of Abhay Kumar Yadav as reported earlier, Deputy Inspector General of Munger Shah Rukh Majeed confirmed. The body has been taken to a nearby police station, an official said. There is no confirmation about the fate of Yadav. According to local news channels, the body was found near Simratali forest under Chanan police station in Lakhisarai. Villagers reportedly said Maoists had left a handwritten poster near the body, warning that they would not talk with the government any more.

Maoists had claimed to have killed Yadav at around 4 p.m. Thursday, six hours after the expiry of the Maoists’ second deadline of 10 a.m. The killing took place following a decision by a ‘jan adalat’ or kangaroo court, a Maoist spokesperson had said. Four Bihar policemen – Tete, Yadav, Rupesh Kumar Sinha and Ehsan Khan – were kidnapped by Maoists after a six-hour gunfight in Lakhisarai district Sunday. The gun battle left seven policemen dead and 10 injured. Maoists claimed the gunfight was in retaliation for the killing of their leader Cherukuri Raj Kumar alias Azad and a journalist on the night of July 1-2 in Andhra Pradesh. The Maoists said the policemen would be killed unless eight jailed Maoist leaders were released. Soon after the incident, Nitish Kumar’s residence was cordoned off in Patna and security tightened.

Earlier, the Maoists claimed they had killed one of the four abducted policemen and threatened to kill the others if eight jailed colleagues were not released, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar offered talks with the Maoists, assuring safe passage to the negotiators. Maoist spokesman Avinash, in telephone calls to local TV channel Sadhna and some journalists, had said Sub-Inspector Abhay Prasad Yadav had been killed. He warned that they would kill the remaining three policemen — SI Rupesh Kumar Sinha, BMP Jamadar Lucas Tete and BMP Havildar Ehsan Ahmed — if the Bihar government did not release eight Maoists by Friday.

In a gun battle in Lakhisarai that lasted nearly 12 hours on Sunday, Maoists killed eight policemen and abducted four. Thirty of 38 districts in state are Maoist-affected. Bihar police spokesperson P K Thakur told The Indian Express: "So far, we have no confirmation of SI Abhay Yadav’s murder. We still have no knowledge of a deadline. Our job is to rescue our men. There is no change in our stand. We are intensifying the operation." But other sources said "Abhay Yadav was killed at 4.17 pm on Thursday. The Maoists, numbering only around 50, killed him as police got closer to them in the area between Chhotki Sawasin and Badki Sawasin hills." This obviously was not right.

In New Delhi, Union Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai said the Bihar government was trying its best to secure the release of the policemen taken hostage. "The state government has been making all efforts to secure the release of the police personnel who have been taken hostage and we are hopeful of an outcome to the negotiations," Pillai told reporters. In Patna, Nitish Kumar said: "We are ready for talks to secure the release of the policemen being held hostage… we are ready to give full protection to anyone from their side (Maoists) coming for talks… we will bear the expenses that they incur to and from here."

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