Naxals take up talks offer | india | Hindustan Times
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Naxals take up talks offer

india Updated: Oct 22, 2009 00:21 IST
Tapan Das

The Maoists have said they are ready to negotiate with the West Bengal government on the release of Sankrail
police station chief Atindranath Datta, who was abducted on Tuesday.

Earlier, state chief secretary Ashok Mohan Chakravarty said the government was ready to soften its stand and negotiate with the Maoists for securing the release of Datta.

Koteshwar Rao, alias Kishanji, Politburo member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), said on Wednesday night, “If the government assures us that our demand will be met, we’ll release Datta.”

But he said leaders of the Maoist-backed Peoples Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) would negotiate with the government.

One of the demands of the Maoists just after the storming of Sankrail police station was that PCAPA leader Chhatradhar Mahato, who was arrested on September 26 from Lalgarh, should be released in exchange for Datta.

Kishanji also fixed Dalilpur Chowk near Lalgarh in West Midnapore district, about 200 km west of Kolkata, as a possible meeting place.

The Maoists have presence in 161 of India’s 626 districts.

On Tuesday at 12.30 pm, about 50 motorcycle-borne Maoist guerrillas — many of them women — attacked Sankrail police station, 200 km west of Kolkata, and a State Bank of India branch 100 metres away.

In an operation that lasted 15-20 minutes, the Maoists took away six rifles, three revolvers, one nine-mm pistol and a huge amount of cartridges from the police station.

They also looted Rs 9.23 lakh from the State Bank of India branch.

The Maoists killed two of Datta’s colleagues, Dibakar Bhattacharya, 35, and Swapan Roy, 31, inside the police station before abducting him.

Datta’s wife and parents had visited the state secretariat and urged chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to ensure his release.