The West Bengal government will sit for negotiations with the Maoists to secure the release of the officer-in-charge of the Sankrail thana in Paschim Medinipur district abducted on Tuesday, provided it received a specific proposal from the other side.
“Securing the release of the abducted police officer and arresting those responsible for the killing of two policemen at the thana are being given top priority. The State government is acting with due prudence….It is trying in all ways — that could be through discussions or other means — to secure the release of the police officer,” Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty said here on Wednesday.
As for the conditions reportedly set by the Maoists for the release of Atindranath Dutta, he said that in any such talks aimed at resolving issues “some demands can be accepted, some cannot be as there may be a larger interest [to safeguard].”
Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee convened an emergency meeting with senior State and police officials to review the developments at Sankrail.
Mr. Bhattacharjee also instructed the State administration that the salary and other benefits due to the policemen killed in action against the Maoists be provided to the bereaved families for the remaining service period of the deceased.
Mr. Dutta’s family members called on Mr. Bhattacharjee at Writers’ Building with an appeal to arrange for his release. They later expressed satisfaction with the assurance given to them that steps were being taken towards this end.
The family members provided to the Chief Minister an account of the telephonic conversation which the Polit Bureau member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), Koteswar Rao alias Kishanji, had with them where it was suggested that they meet Mr. Bhattacharjee and place before him the Maoists’ conditions for Mr. Dutta’s release.