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Updated: April 30, 2012 11:09 IST

Back from talks, interlocutors say Collector is safe

K. Srinivas Reddy
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A file photo of Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon who was kidnapped by Maoists.
The Hindu
A file photo of Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon who was kidnapped by Maoists.

The two interlocutors, who held talks with Maoists in the Bastar forests to free Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon, returned to Raipur, Chhattisgarh capital, on Sunday afternoon, but the suspense over his fate continued. The negotiators, B.D. Sarma and Prof. Haragopal, held talks with top Maoist leaders at an undisclosed location deep inside the forests in the southern parts of the State. They returned to Chintalnar, from where a government helicopter flew them back to Raipur.

They refused to disclose anything on the Maoist response to the government’s proposals, but affirmed that Mr. Menon was “doing well,” government sources told The Hindu on the phone from Raipur. They drove to the Pahuna guesthouse, where the government-nominated negotiators, Nirmala Buch and S.K. Mishra, were waiting for them.

“The negotiators have come back. Discussions are going on,” was the terse response from the Chief Minister’s office, while top police officers maintained that “things are progressing.”

“We are hopeful [of positive developments],” was how Additional Director-General Ramniwas responded to questions. With the government spokespersons, police officers and interlocutors maintaining total secrecy, it’s turning out to be an exasperating experience for journalists covering the eight-day-old crisis.

Sources said the Maoists had scaled up the number of jailed naxalites they want freed for the release of the Collector. Initially, they had demanded the release of eight and then increased the number to 17. Now, the militants want 75 people released, saying they were implicated in false cases. Their other major demand is a halt to ‘Operation Green Hunt.’

The government has responded that it cannot order the release of the naxalite leaders as they were under judicial custody. All it could do is not oppose the bail petitions in courts.

With regard to the observation made by Mr. Mylaisubu of not to give in to the demands of the Maoists for ensuring safe release of a bureaucrat, Mr. Menon, whom Maoists have abducted, I would like to say the following: i) It would be a terrible thing not to engage with the Maoists, at this point of time for securing safe release of Mr. Menon, the zealous and enthusiastic Collector of Sukma district, as the similar precedents are there. ii)The engagement with Maoists is also necessary in order to keep the morale of the spirited Govt. servants, working in the Maoist affected areas high. iii) Having said that, it has also to be understood that the Maoists are also the natives of this country,though wandering on wrong path for which their ideology has as much to be blamed as the flawed Govt. policies, shoddy implementation thereof and the failure of the state to ensure all round development and welfare of certain areas/people.

from:  Amit Kumar Jha
Posted on: Apr 30, 2012 at 09:54 IST

I will be happy if govt. announces similar action and concessions for Maoists. Naxalites if they kidnap other Govt officers/employees.

from:  BK Shrivastava
Posted on: Apr 30, 2012 at 07:55 IST

This is one more episode of the drama being enacted by the govt,as well as maoists.The same old story,but screen play and direction with a little change every time.Making a mockery of the system,these moists,often being resorted to abductions appears,not for championing the cause of uplifting the forest dwellers lives as was being claimed by them often,but,only to get their cadre released from the jails.In such a case,boasting of their ideology time and again,that they are for the poor forest dwellers doesn't have any meaning.Instead,they can join the main stream,and achieve their goals by contesting in polls.

from:  Anthony Rao
Posted on: Apr 29, 2012 at 20:38 IST

While one can appreciate the efforts of the government appointed mediators to seek release of the abducted Collector, as a citizen I wish to use this forum for understanding the situation better. Demand for justice to the poor in tribal areas and elsewhere is a just demand. Even if Maoists are making it, the same cannot be termed as an unjust demand. However, in our democratic set up, no one should be allowed to use weapons and violent means to press his demand for justice. Of course it is necessary that the government takes urgent steps to ensure that end exploitation of adivasis, for whose welfare the Maoists are fighting. I believe that there are different groups in Maoists and some of them have no faith at all in present democracy. In such a scenario is there any point in having a dialogue to put an end to violence and if a dialogue is to take place are we assured of all Maoists' consent to such a dialogue? Can we expect to get results out of such dialogue?

from:  Narendra M Apte
Posted on: Apr 29, 2012 at 16:51 IST

Let us heave a sigh of relief as a solution is in sight. Yes,One is not eqaul to seventeen as simple arithmatics puts in.But it is a message of solace to the committed civil servants on duty braving hazards of sort, that centre does care for them. Had the administration not ignored to uplift the tribals, who are entrapped in the quagmire of extremism, things would have been different. Pity the tribals,who are deprived of their abode and dwellings with merciless deforestation though not with the ultras who exploit their misery and owes. Is it not a wake up call to ensure those poor,destitute, hilly mortals a humble livelihood? When we failed miserably in preventing extremism,sprouted in view of our sheer negligence, we are constrained to strike a deal bidding adieu to our ego.Some solutions have to be reached at a very high cost and to draw a balance sheet now is inane.

from:  C.Chandrasekaran
Posted on: Apr 29, 2012 at 16:41 IST

- State has a responsibility to protect its citizens. The government of Chhattisgarh must peacefully save life of district collector Alex Paul Menon. There is no harm in releasing thousands of innocent Adivasis who were charged with false cases by police forces. - Central and state governments must stop military operations in the name of operation greenhunt and grabbing of forest land in violation of Indian constitution (5th and 6th schedule). - Development doesn’t mean that laying roads in forests(18,000 crores), building mobile towers and arming police stations and buying UAVs. The 90 million Adivasis need sustainable development in the form of schools, hospitals, drinking water, irrigation for agriculture, employment opportunities.

from:  Surya Chandra
Posted on: Apr 29, 2012 at 14:56 IST

This sensation surrounding the Collector’s kidnap is working against
his release Maoists now realise that they hav a prized catch and should take maximum advantage of this captive Unfortunately, as a nation we not have any policy on handling such crisis and it is all adhocism and knee jerk response. Mostly, the state gives away easily to the kidnappers. Threat it is horrible to think the impact such imprudent release of criminals will have on the security forces. Why would they risk their lives and fight in the jungle, if the Government can nullify all these pain staking efforts overnight. While we sympathize with the collector’s family, it should be understood that there is a bigger national cause. If; unfortunately a life, as that of the security guards has to be foregone, so be it. The government should stand firm and call the nonsense of the Maoists. TO give in to their pernicious demands which see no waning is a dangerous portent.

from:  mylaisubu
Posted on: Apr 29, 2012 at 13:21 IST
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