Three young men who were allegedly abducted by Maoists in Chhattisgarh while they were on a bicycle rally to spread the message of peace have been freed after a few days in captivity.
“We have been told by police that all three are safe and will now return in two days,” the father of one of the abducted men said on Sunday.
Chhattisgarh government spokesperson Rajesh Toppo told Hindustan Times that they have reached a CRPF camp at Chintalnar in Dantewada district.
A relative of one of the abducted persons said the Maoists asked for their identity cards to make sure they were not security personnel.
“Once identity cards were shown, the men were released and brought to Chintalnar,” said a source in Pune Anti-Terrorism Squad.
The three men -- Vilas Walke, Shrikrishna Shewale and Adarsh Patil -- who were on a peace-building mission were allegedly abducted on December 29 from the restive Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh.
They started their cycle rally on December 20 from Pune under the “Bharat Jodo” (Link India) campaign to spread the message of peace in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Odisha, the states worst affected by Maoist violence over the past three decades. The trip was to conclude at Balamela in Odisha on January 10.
Earlier there were contradicting reports reaching state capital Raipur about the abduction with authorities saying the three did not keep them in the loop about their trip.
“This is not done. We were not sure about their whereabouts and were trying to get clues from local villagers and other sources”, additional superintendent of police in Bijapur, Indira Kalyan Elesela, said.