Orissa hostage crisis ends
Collector R V Krishna was released on Thursday, nine days after his kidnapping. The Collector said that he was not mistreated in anyway and even attended a kangaroo court held by the Maoists.
While celebrations broke out among his happy relatives, his release has raised many questions, all of which lack concrete answers.
The negotiations with the Maoists were secret. But it is commonly understood that some form of prisioner-exchange and certain concessions were made. The big question is what gains (gotten through much blood and suffering) have we given up and how many prisoners have we surrendered for the IAS officer? While the state government has not, as of yet, announced anything, it is hard to believe the Maoists simply handed R V Krishna over for small change.
There is also a long-term uncertainty. Now that the Maoists have effectively proven that they can blackmail the state government by something as simple as kidnapping - How long will it be before they kidnap someone else?
The question of the Collector's responsibility for all of this has also begun to raise its head furtively. Why did a man of his standing, with full knowledge about the dangers in the area, roam on a motorcycle with no security in the first place?
We seemed to have paid a high price for his humility. Krishna, meanwhile, announced that his work in developing the region would continue at the same pace despite all that he went through.
Image: A TV grab of Malkangiri district collector R Vineel Krishna who was handed over by the Maoists at Janbhaighat near Chitrakonda in Orissa on Thursday.
For the week of February 19 - 25
Text: Vinayak Hegde