BHUBANESWAR: Odisha’s police force on Monday threatened to boycott anti-Naxal operations if hardcore Maoists are freed by the State Government in a bid to end the twin hostage crisis, which escalated with the abductors setting new demands before their deadline expires on Tuesday.
The umbrella bodies of police inspectors and sub-inspectors as well as the havildars and constables warned the Government that they would skip duties in the Maoist-hit districts if the hardcore radicals are set free in exchange for the release of Laxmipur legislator Jhina Hikaka.
The Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of CPI(Maoist) had demanded release of five Maoists, including the dreaded Ghasi, in exchange for Hikaka, a proposition which was opposed by the policemen.
“It is blackmailing and if the Government buckles under their pressure tactics, we will be forced to raise a voice of protest,” the Odisha Police Association (OPA), a body of police inspectors and sub-inspectors, said. Association president Sabarmal Sharma said the sacrifices and efforts of the security personnel will go down the drain if the Red rebels are let off in such a manner.
The policemen’s association said the decision will be an affront to those who attained martyrdom fighting the Maoists. “For the families of the police officials, it will be an insult since their men laid down their lives fighting the Maoists in hostile terrains. What about the courage and valour with which they fought,” he added.
Along with the OPA, the havildar and constables’ association also urged the Government to refrain from any such move and take a strong stand. There has to be a strategy to thwart such blackmailing tactics by the Maoists or else how long can this negotiation and discussion continue, the two bodies asked.
The associations also feared for the lives of the policemen who are taking part in anti-Naxal operations.
The release of hardcore Maoists will bolster their cadre who in turn will target the cops with renewed vigour, the associations added.