|(Photo Courtesy: India Today)|
The federal Home Ministry has ruled out releasing Maoist militants in exchange of people held hostages by the ultras.
The ministry has asked states battling Maoist insurgency to set up a special team to address hostage situations and negotiations.
It also wants the states to use the National Security Guard commandos to launch special operations to rescue those being held hostage by the Maoist.
In any case, states should not swap suspected or convicted Maoists in return for the hostages, a message from the ministry stays.
This year, the ultras have apparently stopped attacking security forces but instead resorted to abduction of government officials, tourists and politicians to seek their arrested comrades’ release.
In May, the ultras kidnapped Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon from Majipara village and released him after two weeks. The Maoists wanted the Chhattisgarh government to release 30-odd suspected Maoists, but none were released.
Earlier, the Maoists kidnapped Odisha legislator Jhina Hikaka and two Italian nationals.
The rebels seem to be in pressure because of increased deployment of the paramilitary forces and have lost ground support as well.
The home ministry's hostage policy says that states should activate the Special Forces wing of the police organization immediately after a hostage is taken.
In case no such force exists, the federal government will send the National Security Guards commandos to secure the release of hostages.
The Home Ministry’s policy also wants the states to use of local media to turn public sentiment against the Maoists.
India: The estimated 150-plus villagers sleeping in their homes were caught unawares..