WB govt ready to negotiate for release of cop
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Last Updated: Thursday, October 22, 2009, 00:32
Kolkata: The West Bengal government on Wednesday said it was ready to negotiate with Maoists if there was any concrete proposal from them for the release of an abducted police officer after his family met Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

"The government is ready to hold negotiations with the Maoists if they give any concrete proposal. But all their conditions as told to the media cannot be accepted," Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty told reporters.

"We also have to keep in mind that the Maoists shot dead two police officers at the Sankrail police station in cold blood, besides kidnapping the officer-in-charge (Atindranath Dutta)," he said.

"Let us see whether they give any specific proposal," he said.

Earlier DGP Bhupinder Singh said their primary job is to find the kidnapped officer.

"We are doing our duty. Negotiation is not part of our job," he said.

Yesterday, after the storming of the police station, Maoist leader Kishenji had demanded release of all tribal women arrested during anti-Naxal operations in West Midnapore district to free Dutta.

"Our main purpose is to secure the release of the police officer. But how and when we cannot say," Chakraborty said.

Chakraborty differed with Singh's remark that the police were accepting the 'challenge' thrown by the Maoists.

"I will not call it a challenge. Our main concern is to free the officer," the chief secretary said.

"If they have spoken about challenge, we must take it up. But we have to be careful in our operations taking into consideration the threat to the officer's life. We are not going to retreat," Singh said.

Asked whether the attack was a result of the failure of the police, the DGP said "failure is a strong word. They overpowered us. This was a soft target because Sankrail was never identified as a Maoist area. Now forces are being redeployed in Sankrail and adjoining areas."

Yesterday's operation was carried out by Maoists from the state as well as those from Jharkand and Orissa with one or two women cadre, he said.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee met Dutta's wife Indrani, two-year-old daughter Oindrakshi, brother-in-law Sanjiv Dutta and parents at the state secretariat.

"I have listened to you carefully and I have everything in mind. The government will act to get the officer released and his safety and security will be properly considered," Sanjiv Dutta said quoting Bhattacharjee.

The chief minister also held an emergency meeting with senior officials shortly after meeting the officer's family.

Bhattacharjee will leave for Delhi tomorrow to attend the CPI-M Central Committee meeting and is likely to discuss the attack issue with the Centre.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, October 22, 2009, 00:32

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