Ranchi, Feb. 13: Four members of a family were abducted by CPI(Maoist) rebels from a village in Garhwa district in the wee hours today.
According to police, the four are relatives of Santosh Yadav, a Maoist guerrilla, with whom they are locked in a dispute over land.
Although Bhavnathpur police, under whose jurisdiction the area falls, did succeed in seeking out the rebels near Sone river as they were fleeing with the abducted and an encounter followed, they failed to free the four.
The incident occurred at Ajania village, about 300km from the state capital and 80km from the district headquarters. Around 1.30am, a squad of 30 Maoists swooped on the house of Yadavs at the village and took four members of the family hostage at gunpoint.
They are Makhan Yadav, his son Dhaneshwar Yadav, brother Shiv Kumar Yadav and nephew Jeetan Yadav.
According to sources, the Maoists took their victims towards Patadumar village near Sone river.On being informed about the abduction, a team from Bhavnathpur police station reached Ajania village, which is about 30km away, around 3.30am and started a search operation.
At 4.30am, the team spotted the Maoists walking towards Sone. But before they could do anything, the rebels started firing. The policemen retaliated and firing continued for an hour. However, the Maoists succeeded in crossing the river with the victims under the cover of darkness.
Beldumaria, a village in the Chutia police station area of Rohtas district in Bihar, lies on the other side of the river.
Garhwa superintendent of police Richard Lakra confirmed the abduction, saying an “encounter” had taken place in which the Maoists fired nearly 100 rounds and the police 30 rounds.
“Though the encounter continued for an hour, it did not yield any result. We have contacted our Bihar counterparts,” he said.
On the reason behind the kidnapping, the SP said prima facie, the matter appeared to be the fallout of a family dispute in which the Maoists were supporting their comrade. “Those abducted are the uncles and cousins of Santosh Yadav. Apparently Santosh hatched the abduction plot to settle a dispute over an 18-cottah ancestral plot,” he said.
An FIR has been filed at Bhavnathpur police station.
Rebels tend to escape to Bihar and Uttar Pradesh from Garhwa, which lies across the Sone next to the border areas of the neighbouring states.
Last year in October, Maoists had gunned down Raj Kumar Sao, one of their former cadres, branding him a police informer at Phulwar village under Dandai police station of the district.