Police officer released by Maoist rebels visits a temple in Kolkata

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Kolkata, Oct 24 (ANI): Athindranath Dutta, the police official who was abducted by Maoists from West Midnapore district, visited Dakshineswar temple here on Friday following his release.

Maoists on Thursday released Dutta, officer-in-charge of Sankrail police station in West Midnapore, in exchange for the freedom of 24 tribal women arrested for aiding Naxalites.

Talking to reporters, Datta said that Maoists did not torture him and provided him with food and blankets.

Maoists had stormed the Sankrail police station on Tuesday killing two police personnel besides abducting Dutta.

The Maoists, including women combatants, attacked the police station and robbed at least 19 firearms and several rounds of ammunition.

They demanded the release of tribal women arrested in Lalgarh region on the charges of aiding Maoists in exchange for Dutta's freedom.

Police obtained bail for the tribal women and set them free, following which the Maoists released Dutta in full media glare.

India is battling Maoists across eastern, central and southern India, an insurgency that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described as the biggest internal security challenge since independence.

The government of India has formally labelled Maoists as a terrorist group which gives security forces more enforcement powers.

The Maoist rebellion commenced about four decades ago for the cause of poor peasants in the east, but has now spread to about 20 of India's 29 states. The Maoists, who say they are waging war on behalf of the poor and the landless against the state, seek to control interior areas of the countryside. (ANI)

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