Raipur, February 16
Days after her husband, an engineer, was kidnapped by Naxals in Chhattisgarh, Sonali Pawar emotionally appealed for his release, but ultimately decided to go in search of him herself and traveled with her underage daughter to the dense Abujhmad forest, the cave of the Ultras to sources.
The Ultras released engineer Ashok Pawar and worker Anand Yadav unharmed Tuesday night, but Sonali is still in the forest. She is in contact with local journalists and police officers.
“Ashok Pawar and Yadav are currently being held at Kutru in Bijapur,” Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Pankaj Shukla said on Wednesday. He said Sonali will reach Kutru soon to meet her husband.
A local writer said that after the release of an emotional video urging Ultras to release her husband for the sake of their daughters, Sonali entered the Abujhmad forest along Bijapur and Narayanpur districts in Chhattisgarh to search for him.
“Sonali, with the help of journalists, had contacted some local people and (with their help) entered the forest of Abujhmad from the Bijapur-Narayanpur border,” a Bijapur-based journalist working for a Hindi daily newspaper told PTI.
The journalist said Sonali took her younger daughter, aged two and a half, to the forest while her older daughter, aged five, is with her family members.
The journalist said she came into contact with Sonali through the construction company that hired her husband the day after he was kidnapped on February 11.
“Sonali, her two daughters and other family members arrived in Bijapur on Sunday. She went to Bedre on a forward journey. She is still in the forest, coming out to reach the Kutru Police Station, where her husband is being held,” the journalist said.
The journalist said she met Yadav, who was released unharmed Tuesday night along with Ashok Pawar.
“Yadav told me that Naxals gave him and the engineer 2,000 rupees each to reach their respective houses,” she said.
According to police, Ashok Pawar feels traumatized and needs monitoring, she said.
Pawar and Yadav were working for a private construction company building a bridge across the Indravati River near the village of Bedre-Nugur in Bijapur district when they were kidnapped.
The Pawar family is from Madhya Pradesh.