Anti-Maoist operations in Bastar, Chhatisgarh suspended

Raipur/New Delhi, Apr 23: The anti-Maoist operation in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region has been suspended in the wake of abduction of Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon.Official sources said the state government has asked the security
anti maoist operations in bastar chhatisgarh...
PTI 23 Apr 2012, 09:06 PM IST
Raipur/New Delhi, Apr 23: The anti-Maoist operation in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region has been suspended in the wake of abduction of Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon.

Official sources said the state government has asked the security forces engaged in anti-Maoist operations not to conduct any offensive against the Maoists in the Bastar region till he is freed by the extremists.

The decision has been taken to ensure safety of the 2006 batch IAS officer, who was abducted by the Maoists on Saturday when he was holding a meeting as part of the government's Special Gram Suraj Abhiyan.

Meanwhile, faced with repeated hostage situation in Maoist affected states, the Centre is planning to seek cooperation from all states in preparing a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to deal with any crisis arising out of kidnapping.

The Home Ministry is likely to write to all states and ask them to put forward their views on formulating an SOP to deal with any hostage situation, official sources said.

The necessity of an SOP arose in view of the problems being faced by the Odisha government following abduction of an MLA and two Italians by the Naxals and subsequent demands of the rebels to release jailed colleagues.

The SOP, if formulated after consultation with the states, would chart out the course of action for the states as well as Central government on how to deal with such a crisis and how much one should yield to fulfil the abductors' demands, sources said.

In Raipur, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh today said that the state government was trying its best to ensure safe release of the Sukma district Collector Alex Paul Menon who was abducted by Maoists on Saturday.

“The state government is exploring all better options to ensure safe release of the officer from naxals and is taking all efforts in this regard,” he told reporters.  Singh said the state government has been in continuous touch with the Centre since the IAS officer was kidnapped on Saturday by the ultras from Majhipara village in Sukma district where he was attending a government outreach programme.

“All neighbouring states have been alerted about the abduction and there is better coordination in all the states. “We are continuously in touch with the Centre,” the chief minister said.

He also informed that an all-party meeting has been convened in Raipur this evening and the suggestions emerging at the meeting could be helpful in ensuring the release of the collector.

Meanwhile, Additional Director General of Police Ram Nivas (anti-Naxal operations) said that the abducted IAS officer was “safe” even as his captors are frequently changing their hideouts.

“The state police is in touch with their counterparts from the bordering states,” he said, adding the security of the senior officers working in the naxal-infested areas has been increased following the incident.

Maoists yesterday set April 25 as deadline for the release of the IAS officer and demanded release of eight of their jailed leaders in Chattisgarh in exchange of the collector's freedom.
 
 
 

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