Prof Haragopal, a political science professor at the University of Hyderabad, was named by the Maoists as one of their interlocutors to participate in the negotiations for the release of Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon.
Prof Haragopal, who agreed to mediate on behalf of the Maoists, has reached Chhattisgarh and has held two rounds of talks with the government representatives along with former bureaucrat B D Sharma, the second interlocutor of the Maoists. He was earlier involved in negotiations with naxalites in the aftermath of the hostage drama involving Koraput District Collector Vineel Krishna. The official was released from Maoist captivity in February, 2011.
“I will do my best but it all depends on the government’s willingness to adhere to its words and assurances,” said Prof Haragopal who is bitter about the Orissa government’s “failure” to keep up the promises it had made to secure the release of Veneel Krishna. Civil rights activists allege that Orissa government had not fulfilled half a dozen of the 18 point charter of demands it had conceded.
Vijay Makdam, Maoist leader of South Dandakarayna, had informed the media through an SMS message that Prof Haragopal would be their interlocutor to negotiate with the government.
The offer followed the refusal of some mediators to take up the task. Soon after the offer was made by the Maoists, the Chhattisgarh police and other officials got in touch with Prof Haragopal and he was flown in a special helicopter to commence the negotiations.
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