The Chhattisgarh government claimed on Tuesday that it had managed to reach the Maoist leadership on the second day of the 48-hour deadline for getting the four abducted policemen released.
In its efforts to open a channel with the rebels through their sympathisers, the government reportedly sent the family members of the abducted policemen to writer K. Varavara Rao in Hyderabad.
Following Rao’s appeal to the Maoist leadership for the release of the policemen, ADG, Bastar, Girdhari Nayak said the rebels extended the deadline by another 24 hours.
On September 19, the Maoists killed three of the seven policemen they had abducted in Bijapur district in Bastar region. The four others – Assistant Sub-Inspector Sudhruram Bhagat, Constables Narendra Goshale, Subhash Patre and B. Toppo – still remain untraced.
The rebels maintained silence for a week before issuing the ultimatum that is said to have ended on Tuesday evening. But the police are not sure when the ultimatum actually began.
In Hyedrabad, Varavara Rao, while urging the Maoists to release the policemen, also noted: “I also ask the Chhattisgarh government to meet the Maoist demands.”
The list of demands issued on Sunday included the release of rebel leaders, halting ‘Operation Green Hunt’, stopping ‘police atrocities’ and initiating peace talks.
Rao, however, said, “Though the demands are genuine, killing hostages for realising goals is not humane. The hostages have to be treated as war prisoners and released unharmed.”
He said that as far as he knew, Swami Agnivesh — who was involved in a previous attempt to bring the rebels to the negotiating table — was in touch with Chief Minister Raman Singh and state police chief Viswaranjan.
Agnivesh said that after failing to contact CM, “I had spoken to Vishwaranjan, who was not in a position to tell me that he was ready for a negotiation”.