Chidambaram had asked Naveen Patnaik not to give in to Maoists

The Centre was not in favour of Orissa government striking a deal with Maoists for the release of its two officials in exchange for the freedom some top Maoists from its jails.

New Delhi: The Centre was not in
favour of Orissa government striking a deal with Maoists for
the release of its two officials in exchange for the freedom
some top Maoists from its jails.
Home Minister P Chidambaram is understood to have
spoken to Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and urged him
not to set precedent by striking a deal with the Maoists
that would pressure on other governments in future in any
similar situation, sources said.

Patnaik is believed to have agreed with the Home
Minister`s suggestion but later went ahead with his
government`s strategy of releasing Maoist leaders from to
ensure the safe release of Malkangiri District Collector R
Veenil Krishna and Junior Engineer Pabitra Majhi, the sources
said.

The abduction of the Orissa government officials was
an operation mounted by Orissa Maoists and their counterparts
from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh pitched in with their
demands.
Then the Orissa Maoists raised the stakes by
demanding release of their comrades from jails which the
Andhra Pradesh Maoists resisted saying they should focus on
the problems of tribals.

Otherwise, they would be looked at as working for
their selfish interests, the Andhra Pradesh Maoists said.
They also noted that the Collector was a popular official
known for working for the people.

The sources said the Centre`s point of view mattered
little in these situations because law and order is a state
subject and the state governments have to handle such
situations.

The Centre could convene a meeting of Chief Ministers
and try to evolve a consensus on how to handle such situations
but some of them could turn around and say how can Centre
dictate to them, the sources said.

The sources noted that in a similar situation Bihar
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had handled the issue of abduction
of some policemen last year with tact though he appeared soft
in his statements.

PTI

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