Ugi Devi frantically scanned the faces of the four boys who returned home to Jharkhand’s Bandua village on Tuesday giving their Maoist captors the slip, a week after they were kidnapped along with nine others. She was looking for her son 12-year-old Paramdev Lohra, but in vain.
Later, when she returned to the Herhanj police station, she couldn’t stop lamenting. “They took him away forcibly. He did not even have his slippers on. We couldn’t stop them. If he returns, I will send him away...”
Anxiety and fear was writ large on the faces of the parents of the other five children who are still in Maoist captivity. There is no information about the eight minors abducted from Chuku village.
Both these villages in Latehar are heavily mined with landmines and other explosive devices, and there is a large contingent of armed Maoists cadres in the area. That’s why police have to be extra cautious while venturing here.
“We will lanch an operation soon,” said Latehar SP Michael Raj. “We will also ask parents to start raising voices against the rebels.” The last idea only makes Bilokhan Lohra scoff. He is the father of Pardeshi, whose body was sent back by the Maoists. “How can we confront the rebels? We would rather migrate and sacrifice our ancestral land.”