Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh has acceded to social activist Swami Agnivesh's request to stop searching for five abducted policemen so that the soil may be prepared for their safe release.
Agnivesh called Singh on Tuesday and asked him to withdraw the search operation against the Maoist abductors in the next 24 hours. N Baijendra Kumar, principal secretary to the chief minister, has confirmed the development. An official spokesperson said: "The CM has welcomed such an initiative from Swami Agnivesh."
The search operation began in the deep forests of south Bastar on January 25, the day of the abduction. This is the first time that a social activist has intervened in the matter in the past two weeks. The apparent apathy on the part of activists has created anguish among the police personnel, senior as well as junior.
"When will these civil rights activists understand that even the police have human rights," asked additional director general of police (anti-Maoist operations) Ram Niwas.
Given the fact that Swami Agnivesh has channels of communication with Maoists, last year union home minister P Chidambaram had asked him explore opportunities of talks with them.
Just before the killing of Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad on July 2, Agnivesh was communicating with him for finalising the terms and conditions of the ceasefire and discussions.
Chhattisgarh director general Viswaranjan had rejected the 11 conditions the rebels had set for the five policemen's release a week after the abduction. The abducted policemen include three head constables Ramadhar Patel, Raghunandan Dhruv and Tarsisiyus Ekka, and two constables Mani Shanker and Ranjan Dubey. Mool Chand Dubey, Mani Shanker's father and a retired government employee, told HT: "When my son returned from school an hour late, I would be worried. Now he is missing for 2 weeks."