Maoists silent on abducted Dalbhumgarh BDO

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Ranchi, Feb 19 (ANI): Despite Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren accepting the Maoists demand to set free 14 rebels, the fate of abducted Dalbhumgarh Block Development Officer (BDO) Prashant Kumar Layek hangs in balance on the sixth day.

BDO Layek's brother-in-law Manish Anand said, "His wife is not keeping well. We are all waiting anxiously for his release. The Maoists have not responded after the Chief Minister's statement."

Soren after a meeting on Thursday night announced that the legal process had already begun into the pending cases of some jailed persons, who the Maoists claim to be innocent.

Soren in a brief statement said, "I appeal to them (Maoists) to set free our officer unharmed at the earliest."

Maoists had demanded Chief Minister Soren to speak out on the issue.

Bolstered by Soren's soft stand and his acceptance of their demands, the rebels have also asked for Rs 10 lakh as compensation for the family of a killed Maoist.

However, there are reports that the Maoists allowed Layek to have a brief conversation with his wife Julie Bharti, who had earlier threatened to immolate herself along with her four-year old daughter in front of the Chief Minister's residence if the rebels caused any harm to her husband.

Maoists have said they would release Layek only if the Jharkhand Government gives written approval to all their demands, including the unconditional release of 14 of their men, who they say have been implicated in false charges.

This is the second incident in last five months in Jharkhand.

In September 2009, the Maoists had kidnapped and beheaded Special Branch Officer, Francis Induwar in Ranchi district. (ANI)

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