A taxi jeep driver moving at a moderate speed on the deserted road on Monday suddenly noticed a person emerging from the bushes, waving his hand in a desperate attempt to get help.
Appearing dehydrated and barely able to walk or speak, he was on the roadside when the taxi came to a screeching halt. The driver didn’t take much time to identify policeman Holaram Sahu, who was missing for the past one week and wearing just underwear. He was immediately taken to a nearby hospital at Mainpur, where the doctor recommended taking him to Raipur because his condition was very serious.
The driver was perhaps aware about Sahu, who was declared missing after the Maoists ambushed a 10-member police search party on May 23 and killed nine of them near Orissa’s dense forested area in Sunabeda, about 15 km from the Chhattisgarh border. Sahu was found a week later near village Dhawalpur in Gariyaband, about 30 km from the ambush site and around 95 km east of Raipur. He is in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Ram Krishna Care Hospital, a private outfit.
Inspector general of police RK Vij told HT, "He needed urgent medical attention and was shifted to Raipur."
The doctors attending to Holaram Sahu said he was severely dehydrated and appeared to have lived for long without food and water.
"The jawan is in a state of shock and not speaking. There are blisters on his foot and some marks of wounds but (it is) difficult to say (what they are due to)," said Ashok Jargam, the administrator of the hospital.
Additional director general of police (anti-Maoist operations) Ram Niwas told Hindustan Times, "There are no signs of serious wounds or injury on his body. We will come to know once the constable recovers."
However, eyewitnesses told HT there were signs of bruises on the lower part of his body.
Sahu's wife, Tikeshwari Devi, who had pleaded to the Maoists to release him, broke her fast after learning her husband was safe and undergoing treatment. His father, Surajbhan Sahu, rushed to Raipur and was in tears after his son recognised him while he was in the ICU. "I am grateful to God my son is safe. His body has not shown any serious injury mark but he is not talking," he said.
Police avoided questioning the driver, who brought the missing constable to the Mainpur police station. "We have taken his details and if needed will inquire from him later," Ram Niwas said.