Maoist guerrillas on November 11 released two policemen they had abducted in West Bengal's West Midnapore district, the police said. "Yes, they have both returned," said a senior district police officer. The duo - Ram Swarup Hela and Rajendra Hela - were abducted by members of the People's Committee against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), who later handed them over to the Maoists near Munidaha area in the district.
Ram Swarup and Rajendra were being quizzed by senior police officers after they returned to Midnapore on November 11. Rajendra was released on humanitarian grounds because his wife had become ill and had been hospitalised, top Maoist leader Koteshwar Rao told the media.
Sources said his release was delayed as the Maoists were engaged in a fierce exchange of fire with security forces who are working to flush out the left wing rebels from the Lalgarh belt in the district. "Villagers caught the duo and later handed them over to the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army. The Maoists are not responsible for the abduction, but since the people have grievances against them we kept them as prisoners of war," Rao told the media. According to sources, the two men worked as sweepers with the eighth battalion of the state armed police.