School teacher and CPI(M) leader Ranjit Duley, kidnapped by Maoists at gunpoint from a school in Bankura district on March 4, was released unharmed in West Midnapore district early today, police said.

Mr. Duley was released at a remote place between Goaltore and Pingboni at around 1:15 am to a select team of electronic media, which took him to Lalgarh police station, the police said.

The teacher was on March 4 taken away at gunpoint from Barulia Madhyamik Siksha Kendra in Sarenga of Bankura district while he was invigilating an examination.

Maoists had initially demanded the release of six cadre arrested for the killing of Sarenga police station in- charge Rabi Lochan Mitra on February 25.

The joint forces, after receiving a tip-off that the teacher had been taken to Bhalukbasa jungle in West Midnapore district, had cordoned off the area and traded fire with the Maoists, killing a cadre on Sunday.

Following this Sidhu Soren, a leader of Sidhu Kano Gana Committee, the militant wing of People’s committee against Police Atrocities, had asked Duley's son to hold a press meet and demand the release of the Maoists, besides 37 villagers detained by the joint forces for obstructing them during encounter at Bhalukbasa jungle, sources said.

Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh had said there was no question of releasing the Maoists. “The Maoists are under pressure and have been scaling down their demands,” he had said last evening.