27 January, 2021

The In-Betweeners

A whole history of mistrust and failed dialogue stalks this ‘diplomacy’

Tribhuvan Tiwari
The In-Betweeners

“What’s the fuss all about,” a ‘Maoist’ interlocutor asks, with just a hint of irritation, referring to the outrage caused by the abduction of Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon. And what about the thousands of ‘innocent’ villagers detained by the state after being labelled Maoist, he asks rhetorically.

Significantly, the annual report of the Union home ministry is silent on the number of Maoists arrested and being held in prison. The interlocutors believe the number would run into the thousands, possibly as high as 20,000 or more in 9 states. The home ministry says there have been 1,554 abductions by Maoists in the last four years (489 in Chhattisgarh and 463 in Jharkhand), with 328 of those kidnapped not returning alive.

There is near-unanimity among the interlocutors that “high-value abductions”, such as Alex Paul’s, by Maoists will go on. “I believe such abductions are part of a counter-strategy to ease pressure on them (Maoists) and...



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