Hostage crisis in Bihar: Naxals to free captive cops at 4.00 p.m.

Patna, Sep.5 (ANI): The hostage crisis related to three policeman is witnessing new twists and turns every now and then with the Naxals coming up with various surprise announcements and demands in the last 24 hours.

In the latest development, the Naxals have said that they would release the captive three policemen today at 4.00 p.m., an Aaj Tak report stated at around 2.30 p.m.

There were reports till Sunday morning that the captives would be released by 8.00 p.m. in the day.

On Saturday, in an attempt to prevent any harm to the abducted policemen by Naxals, the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar appealed them to come forward to hold talks.

After holding an all-party meeting in Bihar to bring an end to the hostage crisis, Nitish Kumar said: "If the Government is willing, the Naxals should come forward to hold talks."

Kumar said: "We want face-to-face talks with Naxals. Let Naxals decide who their representative will be."

He also assured a safe passage for Naxals to hold talks and appealed to Maoists to release the hostages.

Barely three hours after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar appealed Naxals to come forward to hold talks instead of harming anyone held hostage, a Naxal leader Avinash claimed that the three captive police personnel would be released on Sunday.

Avinash, however, claimed that the Central Committee of Naxals rejected the proposal for talks made in the evening by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, an NDTV report stated.

Earlier in day, Maoists had assured that the three other hostages with them were safe and called for talks as "time was running out".

On Saturday morning, the Bihar Police claimed to have arrested two senior Naxal leaders during a combing operation near the jungles of Lakhisarai.

Police claimed one of the arrested was the mastermind behind the abduction of four Bihar policemen, one of whom was killed on Thursday.

On Aug.29 (Sunday), four policemen were taken hostage during an encounter with Naxals in Lakhisarai, 150 kilometres east of Patna. ne of the policemen, Hawaldar Lukas Tete, was killed by the Naxals after the first deadline ended and his body was found in on Friday morning in the jungles of Lakhisari district.

In a note that they left on this body, the Naxals threatened to do away with the three remaining hostages if eight of their comrades are not released from jail. (ANI)

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