Suspense continued over the fate of the three policemen abducted by Maoists a week ago, with the extremists today claiming that they have released the hostages but there was no official confirmation.
"We are verifying the reports about Maoists releasing the hostages this morning," Director General of Police Neelmani and IG (Operation) K S Dwivedi, overseeing the combing operation in the districts of Munger, Jamui, Lakhisarai, Banka and Kaimur told PTI.
"There is no official confirmation of the Maoists releasing the hostages as yet. We have alerted the superintendents of police of these districts, but not a single hostage has been located anywhere," they said. According to footage beamed on a local channel, a Maoist leader identifying himself as 'Kisanji' met family members of one of the kidnapped policemen Abhay Prasad Yadav in the wee hours day and claimed that he would be home soon.
A solution to the week-long hostage crisis in the state had appeared to be in sight with a Maoist leader last night claiming that the three kidnapped policemen --Rupesh Kumar Sinha, Mohammad Ehsaan and Abhay Yadav-- would be freed by 8:00 am this morning.
They had earlier killed one of the captives, Lucas Tete. His body was found on Friday. Local TV channels in Jamui quoting Naxal sources said that the policemen were released in Belhar forest on the border of Banka and Jamui.
Under intense pressure to end the crisis in the poll-bound state, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Kumar had offered Maoists safe passage for talks yesterday. Avinash, a self-proclaimed spokesman for the Maoists, had claimed last night that the central committee had decided to let off the three policemen after rejecting the chief minister's offer of talks.