It was nothing short of a Great Escape. For two days and two nights, they ran. Without food, without water, without sleep and few breaks in between. At dawn on Friday, 10-year-old Aditya Lohra and 15-year-old Dharmendra Lohra finally reached home.
Their days in captivity had been a nightmare. The Maoists, who had picked them up from village Bandua on September 13, had herded them into the nearby jungle. They were constantly kept on the move. Those who resisted were mercilessly beaten into submission.
Of the 10 persons — eight children and two adults — abducted, four others had made their way home on Thursday, bringing joy to this little hamlet 130 km from Ranchi. Taken to be used for making and planting bombs — a fate that has already killed 10-year-old Pardeshi Lohra — the children had a break that was nothing short of a miracle.
“On the morning of September 17, while walking in the Abun forests, we heard a big explosion,” said Awadhesh, a 15-year-old who returned on Thursday. No one knew what caused the blast. “But all of us started running helter-skelter. After a few hours, I found Chhotu following me and no trace of Maoists. Words cannot express how relieved we felt.”
But that relief still escapes three children. Ugi Devi, whose 10-year-old son Paramdev Lohra was taken away, might have a long wait ahead.