RAIPUR: The Chhattisgarh police are keeping their fingers crossed and patiently awaiting the safe release of the Canadian citizen allegedly abducted by Jan Militia (village-level cadres) of the outlawed CPI (Maoist) in south Sukma district.
“With nearly two days now, the circumstances seem nothing less than a hostage-like crisis in the restive Sukma district. The Maoists might set free the Canadian cyclist, in his late twenties, any moment and at any place so we have already placed our civilian men in every hamlet in the vicinity of remote located Singamadugu village to immediately escort him to the district headquarter”, a senior police officer in Sukma told the New Indian Express.
John Szlazak, who mysteriously went missing in the Maoist hotbed of Sukma was finally traced at Singamadugu village in Sukma district on Tuesday. However, he still remains in the captivity of the rebels, who according to the police, had declared to release the Canadian citizen.
“So far there has been no input about John but the local villagers had told our sources that he might be freed anytime on Wednesday. However, we were not informed about the place and time of his release”, Sukma SP Abhishek Meena said.
Szlazak, who landed in Mumbai in February this year, is believed to have travelled to Telangana state before crossing the inter-state border on bicycle to reach Sukma in south Chhattisgarh.
“He is safe. We do not rule out the possibility of Maoists having taken him into their custody since the tribal persons usually would not keep any foreign stranger in their confinement for so long. We are trying for his safe release,” Bastar zone deputy inspector general of police P Sunderraj told the New Indian Express.
The Bastar police have decided not to send the security force to bring back the Canadian national to the district headquarter citing "security reasons".
Reportedly, John had generated an emergency alert on a GPS system installed in his bicycle that helped the police trace him to the remote forested terrain of Sukma village on Tuesday.
"His actual identity and the intention behind his visit will be known after he is interrogated”, the district police chief said.
The remote interior areas in south Bastar happen to be densely forested and stronghold of the rebels. The left-wing extremists are present in at least 16 of the 27 districts of Chhattisgarh but are most active in south Bastar turning it into a virtual war zone.