Maoists claim two missing cops are in their custody (Lead)

November 15th, 2010 - 11:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, Nov 15 (IANS) A week after two security personnel went missing in a Maoist stronghold in Chhattisgarh, a military unit of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) claimed Monday that the cops are in their custody.

Ramesh, commander of the Keshkal Dalam, a military wing of the outfit, sent messages to local media in its stronghold Bastar region that the policemen are safe and would be released if the authorities in Kanker district set free several local people who were in police custody after allegedly being labelled as Maoists.

Khemchand Sahu and Jitendra Patel, who went missing Nov 8, were part of a 90-member contingent drawn from the District Force and Special Police Officers assigned for duty in Maoist-dominated Erka forest of Narayanpur district.

The families of the policemen have been camping in Narayanpur town, headquarters of Narayanpur district, and have appealed to the government to ensure the safe release of the abducted policemen. They also appealed to Maoists to release the two men saying they belong to poverty-hit families and have no enmity with the rebels.

Meanwhile, the police administration has been cross-checking the claims of the Maoists that the policemen are in their custody.

“It’s up to the government to make a statement about the Maoists demand, even we are not sure hundred percent that the missing policemen are in Maoists’ captivity. We are cross-checking the messages that they (Maoists) have sent to media outlets,” a senior police officer here at the police headquarters told IANS.

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