While there was joy at the residence of police officer Atindranath Dutta on Friday following his dramatic release by the Maoists at the Domohini forest in West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district on October 22, families of two constables of the State’s Armed Police from Bankura and Bardhaman districts abducted more than two months back, are spending anxious hours awaiting their return.
Kanchan Garai and Sabbir Mollah went missing on July 30 near Dharampur in the Lalgarh area while they were out patrolling. They still remain untraced.
Though the Maoists never directly claimed to have abducted the duo, the police are certain they were behind it.
After the release of Mr. Dutta, families of Mr. Mollah and Mr. Garai, too, are appealing to the Maoists through local television channels, to release them.
Asked whether the Maoists have placed any specific demand before the State government for the release of the two constables, Director-General of Police Bhupinder Singh told The Hindu that no condition had been set.
“The police believe they are alive and a search operation is underway,” Mr. Singh said.
However, a statement by Maoist Polit Bureau member Koteswar Rao, alias Kishanji, to The Hindu on October 21 offered little hope.
Kishanji said: “If we had to release them against any demand, we would have made them earlier. We do not keep hostages for so long.”
Meanwhile, the 14 tribal women whose release on conditional bail the Maoists sought for Mr. Dutta’s release, were freed from the Midnapore Correctional Home on Friday. Although their bail order was passed on Thursday itself, the processing method of the order delayed the release. Convener of the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee, Chhatradhar Mahato, was produced before a court in Jhargram. He was remanded to judicial custody till November 4 in connection with a case filed against him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. However, Mr. Mahato was granted bail by the same court in another case for his alleged involvement in assaulting public servants, as the court observed that the evidence produced by the police was insufficient.