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Guard gets his ‘birthday’ present

Ranchi, Feb. 3: For Sunesh Ram, his release from Maoist custody after more than 10 days is a “birthday gift”, albeit a little advanced.

Speaking to The Telegraph, the bodyguard of Garhwa zilla parishad chairperson who was taken hostage by Maoists on January 21, the day the rebels killed 19 policemen in a landmine blast in the district, said: “My birthday is on February 12. I am happy that the Maoists released me and now, I am looking forward to celebrate my 28th birthday with my family.”

Ram, who was handed over to PUCL member Shashi Bhusan Pathak somewhere near the Chhattisgarh border yesterday, was brought to the office of zonal IG Rezi Dungdung today. He said that the rebels kept his 9mm pistol and 35 rounds of ammunition before releasing him.

“They seized my 9mm pistols and 32 rounds of ammunition the moment I surrendered before them at Bargarh on January 21 after finding myself facing more than 50 barrels,” he recalled while sharing his experience in the Maoists’ custody.

He went on to add: “I was terrified for the first two days as my hands were tightly tied. I started relaxing only when the Maoists opened my hands and told me that they would not harm me as I was an ordinary constable and belonged to a poor family. They told me that they would lay down their arms once development reached their villages and the poor started getting two square meals a day.”

Ram, who has been serving as a constable with Garhwa district police since 2008, also had a word of praise or two for his captors.

“They are tougher than us. The place where I was kept was freezing cold. I was shivering under three blankets. But the Maoists were comfortable with one blanket. They also eat simple meals — just pulses and rice,” he said.

Arms arrests

Four criminals, one of them having Naxalite links, who were picked up during an arms checking drive at Dugni village under Seraikela police station last evening, were arrested today. Two loaded pistols were recovered from two of them — Shanker Pradhan (28) and Jagdish Mahali (26). The two others were identified as Shibu Das (30) and Bablu Singh (22).

Pradhan, a resident of Sini in Seraikela, has links with Maoist Balram Sahu, alias David, who was recently shifted to Birsa jail in Ranchi. According to police, Pradhan and the three others were planning to murder two persons at Sini and had set out for the mission in an SUV, but were nabbed during the check on Adityapur-Seraikela Road, about 35km from Jamshedpur.

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