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Abducted Jharkhand official’s wife threatens self-immolation

Ranchi, Feb 16 (IANS) The wife of a Jharkhand government official abducted by Maoists has threatened to immolate herself if any harm came to her husband as the 72-hour deadline set by the rebels to fulfil their demands ended Tuesday.

‘There will be no option but to kill myself in front of the chief minister’s residence if anything happens to my husband. I will self immolate along with my four-year-old daughter,’ Juli, wife of Prasant Layak, told reporters in Jamshedpur.

 

Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren termed the abduction as a minor incident.

 

‘It’s a minor incident that takes place in the state,’ Soren told reporters.

 

Layak, a block development officer (BDO), was Saturday abducted by four armed men of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) from Dalbhumgarh block of East Singhbhum district. In exchange for Layak, the Maoists want a few of their comrades released.

 

CPI-Maoist leader Mangal, in a statement to local media, took responsibility for the kidnapping and said that the People’s Liberation Guerrillas Army (PLGA) had ‘arrested, not abducted’ Layak.

 

Maoist rebels were using Layak’s wife to pressurise the government. The rebels called Juli on her mobile phone Sunday and asked her to talk to Soren and convey their demands. Juli met Soren Sunday night.

 

‘The state government is ready for talks with Maoists. No issues can be sorted out by abducting innocent officials. We appeal to Maoists to release the official to create an environment for development where officials can work without fear,’ Soren said Monday.

 

Members of the Jharkhand Administrative Services Association went on two days’ leave from Tuesday to protest Layak’s abduction and sought protection to discharge their duties.

 

Jharkhand police chief Neyaz Ahmad is camping in Jamshedpur and monitoring the operations against Maoists to rescue Layak.

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