Jharkhand, June 27: The police on Wednesday used tear gas shells and batons to get rid of the Pathalgadi supporters who obstructed their search operations to rescue three missing policemen abducted by them.

The three cops deployed at the house of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Kariya Munda in Ghagra village were abducted by Pathalgadi supporters on Tuesday.

The kidnap happened after cops raided Udbhuru village to arrest Yusuf Purty and John Jonas Tidu, the two alleged accused in the gangrape of five women activists working with a non-governmental organisation.

Superintendent of Police from Khunti district, Ashwini Kumar Sinha said, “It seems that Patthalgadi supporters helped them [Purty and Tidu] escape but we have attached their properties.” Ashwini Sinha reached the village with more than 400 police. He added, “An ambush was laid by the Maoists on Tuesday, in which 6 police of jaguar force were killed and 400 injured.”

Patthalgadi supporters protested against the central and state government by burning their Aadhaar cards and voter IDs in Ghaghra village. The two suspects escaped when as many as 2,000 Pathagadi supporters prevented the police officers from entering the village. As per the norms of Pathalgadi, a tribal movement, outsiders are banned from entering their hamlets. The villagers declare themselves as the sovereign authority by placing huge stone plaques that contain information at the entry points of their hamlets. The stone plaques proclaiming the sovereignty of the tribal community are present across Khunti, Simdega, Gumla and West Singhbhum districts.

Additional Director General of Police (Operations) RK Mullik said, “The police were entitled to take whatever action was required against the accused in the Khunti rape case and those supporting the Patthalgadi movement.” He added that rescue operations to save the three guards – Subodh Kujur, Vinod Kerketta, and Suyon Sureen have begun. The MP was absent when the kidnap happened.

On June 19, when the five women activists paid a visit to Chochang village to raise awareness on migration and human trafficking, they were gang-raped by men. The Jharkhand Police have already arrested two people involved in the case, earlier on Saturday.