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Updated: April 28, 2012 08:10 IST

Mediators to meet Maoists today with proposal

Aman Sethi
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Social activist B.D. Sharma along with Professor Hargopal (not in picture), will travel to an interior village in Sukma on Saturday morning to discuss the proposal with cadres of the Communist Party of India (Maoist).
Special Arrangement
Social activist B.D. Sharma along with Professor Hargopal (not in picture), will travel to an interior village in Sukma on Saturday morning to discuss the proposal with cadres of the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Demands suggest Maoists looking to win over those alienated by kidnapping

Mediators working to secure the release of kidnapped Sukma Collector, Alex P. Menon, have arrived at a tentative agreement that shall be submitted to the Maoists on Saturday. “Talks have concluded for now, but the final agreement shall have to be approved by the Maoists,” said mediator B.D. Sharma.

Mr. Sharma and Professor Hargopal, who are mediating on behalf of the guerrillas, hope to travel to an interior village in Sukma on Saturday morning to discuss the proposal with cadres of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). The rebels kidnapped Mr. Menon on April 21 while he was addressing a gathering of farmers in his district.

While Mr. Sharma refused to comment on the contours of a possible agreement, an analysis of the Maoist demands suggests that the party could be reaching out to those sympathetic to the issues raised by the Maoists, but alienated by tactics like armed struggle and kidnapping.

This gulf between Maoist motivations and methods was highlighted by Supreme Court Advocate and Team Anna activist Prashant Bhushan when he refused to mediate on the Maoist behalf. Mr. Bhushan told The Hindu that he agreed with some of the Maoist demands, but could not condone the use of Mr. Menon’s life as “a bargain chip”.

While the Maoists have demanded that the State government call off anti-Maoist operations in Chhattisgarh and free eight prominent Maoists currently in custody, they have also demanded the release of a number of Communist Party of India workers and unaffiliated tribals, who, the Maoists say, have been falsely implicated in Maoist attacks.

The most prominent of these is Kartam Joga, the lead petitioner in a case filed in the Supreme Court that holds the State police and administration responsible for a plethora of human rights violations during the Salwa Judum, a controversial counterinsurgency campaign. Mr. Joga was arrested in September 2010 and accused of participating in a Maoist ambush in which 76 CRPF troopers were killed in a matter of hours. An investigation by The Hindu revealed that at least 2 of the ten witnesses mentioned in the case-file accused the police of fabricating their testimonies.

The Maoists have also demanded that the police release hundreds of allegedly innocent tribals who have been arrested and imprisoned on trumped up charges. While the rebels have not fixed a number to these arrests, a recent report by the Centre for Social Justice reveals that in 1,758 prisoners and 13 children are currently lodged in Jadgalpur Central Jail, a facility designed for 648 inmates. Of the 1,178 under trial, 605 adults and 7 children have been charged under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act of 2005, an act usually used against those suspected of aiding the Maoists.

A few questions

In a recent press note titled “Why did we kidnap the Collector?” South Bastar Regional Committee member Ganesh Uieke acknowledged that “some prominent intellectuals and sections of the media” have put pressure on the rebels to unconditionally release their hostage on humanitarian grounds as Mr. Menon is an asthma patient, a member of the historically oppressed Dalit community, and an apparently popular official working for the uplift of his district.

Mr. Uieke identifies Mr. Menon as a the senior most official in Sukma district where, Mr. Uieke holds the district police responsible for a series of staged encounters, custodial deaths and the torching of 300 homes in the villages of Tarmetla, Morpalli and Timapuram. “Why is Mr. Menon unable to stop these inhumane and unconstitutional practices?

“Who is this young, Dalit Collector from an impoverished background working on behalf of?” Mr. Ueike asks, before accusing him of running an administration designed to aid the exploitation of Chhattisgarh’s mineral resources by a multinational corporation, an assertion disputed by the State administration.

Dear Maoists
The world changes.You also have to change.Please join with our
nation.You also change to an oppurtunity to rule the state or country

from:  I.Rajasekar
Posted on: Apr 28, 2012 at 11:45 IST

Its really very bad that being such a civil defense and executive system we are still not able to resolve this issue. When a Civil servant is held, this is the case, what could be the value if they hostage some ordinary people..
Its an inside problem, we are carrying this from how many decade? and will be carrying for how long??

from:  manoj
Posted on: Apr 28, 2012 at 10:32 IST

It is a good news that social activist B.D.Sharma and Professor
Hargopal will meet Maoists with a proposal to secure release of Sukma
Collector,Alex Paul Menon. We can only hope that Maoists will see the
reason and release the Collector who is a Dalit and belongs to
deprived section of the society. Unfortunately the UPA government at
the centre and the state government treat Maoists as the enemy of the
nation and similarly they also dream to capture power by bullets which
is not possible in democratic India. Their influence is limited to
forests areas of the country and India is not limited to forests only-
this fact they must keep in mind. The authorities in power must initiate developmental work on a large scale in the areas infested by them. If the youths are employed, naturally they will give up arms and join mainstream of national politics. It must be remembered that any violent organisation is the product of the system which we have inherited.

Posted on: Apr 28, 2012 at 08:45 IST

Maoists should cut arguments short and admit that by this kidnapping they are chewing more than they can swallow. Arrogance of
brute power has intoxicated them and they are unable to think
coherently. By this desperate act they have alienated themselves from
their prominent sympathizers. This is what exactly happens when you foolishly cut the goose laying the golden eggs.

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 20:43 IST

We should not give in to their demands. This will make them bolder and
repeat the same.

from:  Raja
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 20:32 IST
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