Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and the state police chief on Friday thanked the media for its role in securing the release of four policemen who were abducted by Maoists Sep 19.
"I extend my greetings to the released policemen and their families and thank all those people involved in persuading the Maoists for their release, including media persons of Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh who played a major role," an official statement quoted Singh as saying.
Chhattisgarh Director General of Police Vishwa Ranjan held a press conference at police headquarters Friday and heaped praise on mediapersons for "playing a key role" in the safe release of the abducted policemen.
Maoists had Thursday night handed over the policemen - Assistant Sub-Inspector Sukhram Bhagat and constables B. Toppo, Narendra Bhosle and Subhash Ratre - to the crew of a local news channel at Mader pocket of Bijapur district after mediapersons persuaded the rebels to release them unharmed on humanitarian grounds.
Maoists abducted seven policemen Sep 19 from Bhopalpatnam area of Bijapur district of Bastar region, over 500 km south of Raipur, close to the Andhra Pradesh border. Three policemen were killed a day later, while four were held captive to bargain with the authorities.
Police and intellectuals have also credited the policemen's safe release to Varvara Rao, a Maoist ideologue and revolutionary poet, who made repeated appeals to the rebels since the hostage crisis erupted to free them as they belong to very poor families.
The release has come as a major relief for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that was under tremendous pressure since Sep 19 to get them released unharmed.