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Police scotch rumours of hostage murder

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Hunt for kidnapped policemen in Lakhisarai district of Bihar enters fourth day

The Bihar police on Thursday scotched all rumours of Naxals having executed a sub-inspector, one of the four personnel kidnapped by the rebels, even as the hostage crisis in Lakhisarai district entered the fourth day.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said, “There is no definite information [of the ultras having taken the extreme step]…I only hope this news [by local media] is wrong,” adding he was “ready for talks” with the Naxals.

After Sunday's encounter, in which seven police personnel were killed, a self-proclaimed Naxal spokesperson, Avinash, on Tuesday issued a 36-hour ultimatum to the Bihar government — which ended by 10 a.m. on Thursday — to release eight jailed cadres in exchange for the four police personnel, failing which the hostages would be executed.

When the deadline ended without any response from the government, Avinash, in dramatic telephonic interviews to local channels and a prominent news agency, claimed that a sub-inspector was killed and that the body was dumped near the Abhaypur police station in Lakhisarai. The rebels further issued warnings over television channels that the other three captives would meet the same fate by 10 a.m. Friday if the government did not accede to their demands.

No body found

Speaking to The Hindu, ADG (Headquarters) P.K. Thakur said a “thorough search” was held by the police, but “no body had been found near the Abhaypur police station.”

“It appears to have been an attempt to mislead us and demoralise our forces during the combing operation,” Mr. Thakur said, indicating that television channels were behaving “highly irresponsibly” by flashing such reports.

Earlier, Mr. Kumar said he always ensured that human rights were never denied to any Naxal. “At the Chief Ministers' meet in Delhi, I was the only one to have referred to the Naxal as a human being. But if the Naxals have human rights, then so have my policemen,” he said, stressing that “holding anybody captive and initiating negotiations within a democratic framework is totally against the spirit of democracy.”

“No Naxal has ever been killed in a fake encounter since I became Chief Minister. So, I expect that they [the Naxals] too will respect our captives in the same way,” Mr. Kumar said.

Appealing to the rebels to hold talks in a constitutional manner, he said his government did not have any right to amend the law in this democratic framework.

Meanwhile, the massive manhunt launched to locate the missing police personnel continued through the day with CRPF and CoBRA units fanning out across the entire Naxal-infested Jamui-Lakhisarai-Munger belt.

Inspector-General (Operations) K.S. Dwivedi said the CRPF, the SAP, the BMP and Special Task Force of the Bihar police were continuing their search and that they had some vital clues to the whereabouts of the abducted polcemen.

Centre backs Bihar

New Delhi Special Correspondent reports:

In New Delhi, a Union Home Ministry spokesman said the Centre backed all efforts being made by the State government to ensure the safe release of the policemen.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 11:08:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Police-scotch-rumours-of-hostage-murder/article15906445.ece

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