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    Day 8: Bihar hostage crisis may end today

    Patna: Families of three Bihar policemen still being held hostage by the Maoists are waiting for the rebels to keep their words and release them by Sunday.Self-proclaimed Maoist spokesman Avinash on Saturday responded to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s appeal to not harm the hostages and release them by saying that the three abducted policemen were safe and that they would be released on Sunday.This news was a welcome relief for the families of Abhay Prasad Yadav, Rupesh Kumar Sinha and Ehtesham Khan. They have been fearing the worst since the killing of Bihar Military Police Sub-Inspector Lokus Tete who was kidnapped with the other three policemen during a gunfight on August 29 in the forest of Lakhisarai.Avinash said the abducted policemen would be handed over to their respective families though he refused to disclose the location. He said the decision has been taken on humanitarian grounds and after the Bihar government's offer. The Bihar hostage crisis entered its 8th day on Sunday.Bihar government on Saturday decided to reach out to the Maoists who have abducted Bihar policemen. Following an all-party meeting held in Patna, Nitish Kumar appealed to the Maoists to release the three policemen still being held hostage by them.Kumar on Saturday appealed to the Maoists to come forward for talks, but he did not reveal if the state government was willing to negotiate on the Maoists demand to release eight of their fellow men."I appeal to the Maoists not to harm the hostages," appealed the Kumar.Kumar had promised the Maoists leaders who come for talks a safe passage.