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India: If the Maoists care for the tribals and have any respect for human rights, they should release both Alex Paul Menon and Jhina Hikaka

23 April 2012

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Statement by Ramachandra Guha, E.A.S. Sarma, Nandini Sundar

23 April 2012

We condemn the attack by the Maoists on April 21st near Kerlapal village in Sukma District in Chattisgarh, in which they killed two security guards and abducted the Sukma District Collector, Alex Paul Menon.

At the time of this attack, Menon, accompanied by the security guards, was in the process of conducting Gram Swaraj Abhiyaan across the district. A few hours prior to the attack, Menon had to traverse the rough terrain on a motorcycle to reach the interior villages near Badde Setti and Sam Setti. This shows his concern for the tribals residing in this remote area and his conscientiousness in attending to their problems. By killing the innocent security guards who were on duty and kidnapping Menon, the Maoists have betrayed their lack of respect for human rights and democratic processes.

This incident has come on the heels of the series of similar acts of abductions and killings on the part of the Maoists during the last few years in Chattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand. The abduction of Jhina Hikaka, an MLA on March 24 this year, the abduction of Vineel Krishna, the then District Collector of Malkangiri district last year, and the killing the Jharkhand police officer, Francis Induwar in 2009 show that the Maoists have no compunction in hurting the interests of the tribals and committing crimes against innocent officers and people’s representatives attending to their call of duty. We whole heartedly condemn these acts of violence on the part of the Maoists.

If the Maoists care for the tribals and if they have any respect for human rights, they should release both Alex Paul Menon and Jhina Hikaka immediately and unconditionally

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