In the wake of a string of high-profile abductions by Maoists, the home ministry on Monday told state governments to evolve procedures for the safe movement of administrators and political representatives in the Maoist-infested 'red corridor'.
Home ministry officials said they were also mulling the need for a unified approach to deal with Maoists taking hostages.
“There is a view that the Centre should consult the states to draw up guidelines for the steps that states should take in the event of Maoists taking hostages,” a home ministry official said.
He added that this needs to be discussed further before home secretary RK Singh picks up his pen to write to the states.
For now, a senior home ministry official said, the Centre had advised states to evolve standard operating procedures to be followed by civil administration and political representatives when they move out.The security establishment believes that Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon — quite like the Malkangiri collector Vineel Krishna — should have been more careful about his personal security when stepping into the interiors.
Krishna was released by Maoists after spending nine days in captivity last year in exchange for five Maoist sympathisers.
Young district collectors serving in Chhattisgarh's Maoist-affected areas said it would be difficult for them to push development if they were to move around with too many security personnel.
There certainly is an element of risk when the collector steps out of his office in these areas, a Chhattisgarh government officer said, pointing that Menon was probably abducted before he could adequately build a relationship with villagers.
Once the collector earns the trust of villagers, he said, they often warn the officer if they hear about the Maoists planning an operation to attack or abduct them.