Why was human rights activist and lawyer Biswapriya Kanungo reluctant to take up the job of interlocutor on behalf of the Maoists, who have taken two Italians hostage?
Making it clear that he was neither a supporter of the Maoists nor the state government, Kanungo said he was not ready to mediate on behalf of just one side – the Maoists.
“As a human rights activist, I have my own limitations and mediating in such crises becomes quite dicey,” Kanungo told Hindustan Times.
However, he said he might reconsider if both the sides – Maoists as well as the state government – chose him to be a mediator and made it clear from the beginning they would adhere to the points agreed upon.
Kanungo said he did not appreciate the abduction of the foreigners. “They are neither police informers, nor will their abduction serve any revolutionary purpose,” he said. He, however, admitted that some of the Maoist demands were genuine and should be taken up by the government seriously.
When there was a crisis, everybody looked for somebody who could bail them out, but when the negotiations were over, the points agreed upon were usually forgotten, he said.
“We saw that during the abduction and ensuing talks for Krishna’s (the Malakangiri collector) release,” Kanungo said.
After Krishna’s release, he said the Maoists and the mediators blamed the state government for not honouring commitments. “What’s more, (Dandapani) Mohanty was bitter that he was targeted by the government, which allegedly lodged false cases against him,” Kanungo said.