Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) urges the CPI (Maoist) to ensure that no harm comes to V. Krishna, Collector Malkangiri district of Orissa as well as Pavitra Mohan Majhi a junior engineer taken hostage by them.
We wish to also state that hostage-taking is a condemnable act and linking of demands with the release of captives is an unacceptable way to draw public attention to the plight of the Adivasis. We believe that it tends to belittle the legitimate grievances which people have against the authorities who have launched 'operation greenhunt' in the country's Adivasi areas.
We are mindful of the fact that in normal course, despite the scale of atrocities being perpetrated against the Adivasis whose land and forests are coveted by the mining corporations, these receive perfunctory attention from the media and the state authorities. There have been enumerable instances of fake encounters, a large number of Adivasis have been arrested and incarcerated in overcrowded jails for years, as well as many Maoists cadres, treated as the "enemy", are being tortured in police custody and condemned to inhuman prison conditions It is a paradox that its only when hostages are taken and media splashes the incident, that the Adivasis' grievances come to the notice of the public at large in the form of demands by the Maoists.
We, therefore, wish to remind the authorities that the issue of hostage taking ought not to be confined to the release of the hostages but that it is seized as an opportunity to address the issues raised which include the attack on lives and livelihood of the people and the state's stubborn effort to push the interests of the corporate sector, riding roughshod over people's opposition.
We ask the Maoists to release the two hostages taken by them unconditionally and call upon the authorities to address the specific instances cited by the Maoists so that Adivasis suffering is mitigated and incidence of hostage taking becomes redundant.
Harish Dhawan and Paramjeet Singh