Eight people, allegedly abducted by Maoists a few days ago in the Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, have been released unharmed and returned safely to their village, police said on Wednesday.
Before releasing them, the Maoists warned villagers “not to support police or development work in the area,” police said.
“These people reached their Kunded village on Tuesday evening below the limits of Jagargunda Police Station and they are all safe,” senior police officer (Bastar range) Sundarraj P told PTI.
Maoists had taken seven people by force on July 18 and another local resident with them on July 17 to the village of Puvarti, the birthplace of the feared Maoist Hidma, and allegedly kept them in captivity, he said.
When they failed to return home, a group of villagers from the area went into the woods to look for them and facilitate their release.
After being warned, the police sprang into action and started a search for these people, Mr Sundarraj said.
Meanwhile, local representatives of tribal communities were also contacted and they made a media appeal asking the ultras to release the kidnapped villagers, Mr Sundarraj said.
“With increasing pressure from the police and calls from local tribal leaders, Naxals had to release them,” the official said.
All eight kidnapped people and the villagers who had left to secure their release have returned to their native Kunded, more than 400 km from the capital Raipur, he said.
However, it was not yet clear why the villagers were kidnapped.
The police will record the statements of the liberated villagers, he added.