The Naxals through their two intermediaries, B.D. Sharma and Prof. Harg-opal, have for the first time spelt out the reason for kidnapping Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon.
The two interlocutors on their return after detailed deliberations with the Maoists in the jungles of South Bastar have also informed the state government about the provocation behind the highprofile kidnapping. Sources in the state’s security establishment revealed that the Naxal were extremely upset about increasing police brutalities against tribals in the Sukma region.
In fact, the tribals had repeatedly complained to the collector but he failed to initiate any concrete steps to check harassment of the tribal population at the hands of the local police. The Naxals also gave at least two specific examples of police brutality to their interlocutors to be conveyed to the state government.
Interestingly, in the first instance a tribal woman, Soni Sodi, was tortured and harassed by the police last year for raising issues concerning the local tribal population. Soni, an activist, had been actively campaigning for tribals rights in the entire Bastar region. But instead she was detained by the local police and harassed for being a Naxal sympathizer.
A big delegation of comprising local tribal residents went to Mr Menon and complained against the local SP, Ankit Garg. Sources said but instead of initiating action against Mr Garg the collector recommended President Police Medal for the police officer.
In the second incident the police picked up a local tribal Podian Mada for questioning in connection with Maoist violence in the region. But he died in police custody to alleged torture but the police made it to be a case of suicide alleging that Mada hanged himself in the police station.
In this case also no disciplinary action was taken against the guilty policemen. Thus, the two Naxal interlocutors have conveyed to their State appointed counterparts that Mr Menon’s kidnapping was in retaliatory move as the local tribal population had repeatedly complained to the Naxal cadres in the region.
Meanwhile, State Government sources said that the Naxal were merely gaining time by adding more names to the list of jailed Maoists who release they are demanding.
“The State Government has given a categorical assurance to the two interlocutors that there will be no human right violations in the tribal dominated areas. In fact, the Government is even willing to put in place a legal or a constitutional mechanism,” an official said.