Jharkhand Maoists on Monday demanded the release of three women cadres and some tribals in return for the abducted block development officer, Prashant Kumar Layak.
Layak was kidnapped on Saturday from his office in Dhalbhumgarh, around 180-km southeast of capital Ranchi.
The CPI Maoist rebels have threatened to kill Layak if their demands are not met in 72 hours. The deadline expires on Tuesday.
“Free our comrades and we will hand over the BDO to media personnel,” Naxal commander Mangal alias Kanu told a press conference at one of their hideouts near the Jharkhand-Orissa border.
In Ranchi, Chief Minister Sibu Soren said his government was ready for talks and would consider all their demands, provided they released the BDO. “I am yet to receive any of their demands in writing,” Soren said.
The BDO’s wife Julie Bharati has appealed to the Maoists not to hurt her husband. “The chief minister has assured he will address all your grievances and demands,” she said.
Senior police personnel, led by director general Neyaz Ahmad, are carrying out combining operations in the rebels' suspected hideouts along the Jharkhand-Orissa and Jharkhand-West Bengal borders.
Dhalbhumgarh shares its borders with both the states, which is surrounded by hills and dense forests. The Maoists’ hotbed Lalgarh is barely 60 km away.
Maoists, who control 18 of Jharkhand’s 24 districts, have killed 340 policemen in the last eight years.
On October 6 last year, they killed a special branch inspector Francis Induwar. Layak is the first senior administrative officer the rebels have abducted in the last two years.