The 48-hour deadline that the Maoists set for the state government on Sunday after a week of silence for meeting their demands has come as a sign of hope for the families of the four Chhattisgarh policemen.
Shivkumari, wife of Assistant Sub-Inspector Sudhru Ram Bhagat begged the Maoists to free her husband, as he was the sole breadwinner for the family.
“I will persuade my husband to leave the job. We will do farming or look for other sources of livelihood,” said Shivkumari.
“I am thankful to god, and also to the Maoists, for keeping my father and the other three alive and safe,” said Sushma, Bhagat’s daughter.
Talking to Hindustan Times over the phone from Bijapur, she said the state government should try to understand our pain and agony and the rebels should not come up with unrealistic demands.
The Maoists abducted seven Chhattisgarh policemen on September 19 from Bijapur and killed three of them. Now, the rebels are demanding that their leaders be released, among other things, in exchange for the four policemen.
The policemen’s families travelled all through the Bastar region to reach Andhra Pradesh to appeal to the rebels. Of the four abducted, two from Jashpur district, while the rest are from Bilaspur.
Since the three districts of Andhra Pradesh — Khammam, Warangal and Karimnagar —share common borders with Bijapur, the abducted policemen are believed to have been kept somewhere in that district.
The Bharatiya Janata Party government in Chhattisgarh, under Ramn Singh, however, has no idea till now about the whereabouts of the policemen.
While Bhagat and his family are originally from Sanna block of Jashpur district, which adjoins Jharkhand, Constable Subhash Patre is a resident of Lormi block in Bilaspur.
Manju (24), wife of Patre, said her family was distraught when the news broke out.
“I tried calling my husband but his mobile was consistently switched off.”
Subhash and Manju have two daughters. The youngest daughter will celebrate her first birthday on Tuesday.
The family members were extending gratitude to the media as well for acting as their messengers at a press conference they addressed in Khamman on Monday, urging the Maoists to free the policemen.