Abducted railway employees freed by Maoist rebels in Jharkhand (Lead)

October 21st, 2008 - 2:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, Oct 21 (IANS) Four abducted railway employees were freed by Maoist rebels in the jungle of Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh district five days after they had been abducted, police said Tuesday. The employees were freed around 11 p.m. Monday. Police claim that it was their pressure which forced the Maoists to free the abducted railway employees.

Unconfirmed reports, however, suggest that the railways paid around Rs.2 million as ransom to ensure safe release of the employees.

According to police, a smaller group of Maoist rebels called the Jharkhand Prastuti Committee (JPC) had abducted two deputy station masters S.K. Kesari and S.D. Ekka, Assistant Station master (ASM) Kamal Kishore and guard of Barwadih railway station Munsi Praasad from Macluksignaj railway station, around 70 km from Ranchi, Oct 15.

Maoist rebels had entered the railway station and abducted the employees at gun point.

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad had also spoken to Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren for safe release of the employees.

“The released employees are shocked over the abduction. They are not divulging any information regarding their abduction and ransom demanded by the rebels,” a source said.

Police said the smaller Maoist rebel outfits are eyeing the extra money given to railway employees after implementation of the sixth pay commission recommendations.

Maoist rebels are active in 18 of the 24 districts of the state. In the last seven years over 1,300 people have been killed, including 714 civilians and 320 security personnel.

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