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Maoists release three hostages in Jharkhand

Palamu, Wed, 25 Jan 2012 ANI

Palamu, Jan 25 (ANI): Maoists have released three persons, including a government official, who had been held hostage for over 72 hours after the killing of 15 policemen in a landmine blast in Jharkhand's Garhwa region on Tuesday.


District Council chairperson Sushma Mehta, her bodyguard Suresh Ram, driver Mehboob Ansari and State Communist Party of India-Marxist-Lenin member Akthar Ansari, were abducted on Saturday (January 21) soon after the Maoist attack.


The rebels are still holding Ram hostage who according to Mehta was alive as seen before exiting the Maoist hideout.


Mehta and her aides were released around six in the morning near Palamu from where they had to walk a considerable distance and found help to reach a safer location.


Mehta relived her moments of fear before media persons in a small interaction.


"They held us hostage separately; never allowing us to come together in order to prevent any communication between the hostages. We were blindfolded and our hands were tied up always," said Mehta.


Over a dozen policemen died on Saturday in the state's Maoist-infested Garhwa region after their vehicle went over a landmine laid to ambush them.


The police personnel were escorting local administrative officials including Bhandaria Block Development Officer Basudev Prasad, who were on their way to Bargarh village to request the villagers to call off their strike over a dispute.


Despite strong measures initiated by the Central 0overnment to crush the ultras, the Maoist insurgency has gripped nearly a third of the country, spreading into the interiors of 20 of India's 28 states.


Maoists have significantly increased their presence in tribal and rural regions in the affected states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa. (ANI)


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