TAMIL NADU

Naxalites set 48-hour deadline

ONGOLE APRIL 9. People's War naxalites released the home guard, D. Babu Rao, from their confinement at midnight last night and set a 48-hour deadline to the Andhra Pradesh Government for accepting their demands for the safe release of the remaining three policemen.

In a letter sent with the home guard they reportedly made it clear that the Government would have to own up responsibility for any eventuality if their demands were not met within the closing time. There was, however, no change in their demands.

They also sent an audio-cassette to senior police officers in which voices of the three other abducted cops — the Pedaraveedu SI, P. Anjaneyulu, the ASI, M. Subba Rao, and the constable, S. Brahmendrakumar — were recorded.

In the recorded tape, they implored the Government and the police authorities to act quickly on the demands put forth by the naxalites in view of the threat to their lives.

They also asked the police associations and their families to exert pressure on the Government for its positive response.

Meanwhile, the Guntur range IG of Police, P. Chandrasekhar Reddy, who has been camping at Markapur since the policemen were kidnapped on April 2, told The Hindu that efforts were on to establish contact with the naxalites through some villagers who ventured into the forest yesterday.

He, however, said so far no contact had been established. As regards the Government's reaction to the naxalites' demands, he said certain demands were under active consideration and the same was being informed by the authorities in Hyderabad to the militants through radio messages.

Although the naxalites treated him humanely, it was an agonising experience for the home guard. They were never harsh towards him and gave food two times everyday.

On the first day, on April 2, they gave him meals made of broken rice. But, the following day onwards ordinary meals were served. But, he could not get an opportunity for bath all these days during the naxalites' captivity.

The 40 year-old home guard has a wife, two daughters and one son.

Narrating his experiences with the naxalites in the forest to reporters at Markapur, the home guard said he was released at a place in the forest, 3 km from Kadaparajupalle in Pedaraveedu mandal. Four naxalites brought him there blindfolded.

Mr. Babu Rao said he was kept separate from the three other policemen and not allowed to meet them. Four naxalites guarded him all these days. Since the three were kept on a nearby hillock and he was beneath it he could not see how many militants were there. On the day when they were kidnapped there were only eight to nine naxalites.

Policemen's protest

Meanwhile, the condition of the kidnapped constable, Brahmendrakumar's wife, Anusha, who has been on an indefinite hunger strike, is said to have deteriorated.

The fast launched by the wives of cops entered the third day.

Police personnel, non-gazetted officers and activists of different political parties under the leadership of the town CI, Jamulaiah Naik, took out a rally urging the Government to respond to the naxalites' demands immediately and asked the naxalites to release the cops unconditionally.

According to a report from Anantapur, men and police officers urged the State Government not to concede to the demands made by the People's War in return of releasing the police personnel.

The demands of the naxalites were against the law and would not find favour with people, they said in one voice at a meeting of the officers and men with the Superintendent of Police, A.K. Puneetha. They condemned the abduction of their colleagues by naxalites.