Anti-Naxal operations in Bastar suspended

Raipur/New Delhi: The anti-Naxal operation in Chhattisgarh`s Bastar region has been suspended in the wake of abduction of Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon.

Official sources said the state government has asked the security forces engaged in anti-Naxal operations not to conduct any offensive against the Maoists in the Bastar region till he is freed by the extremists.

The decision has been taken to ensure safety of the 2006 batch IAS officer, who was abducted by the Maoists on Saturday when he was holding a meeting as part of the government`s Special Gram Suraj Abhiyan.

Meanwhile, faced with repeated hostage situation in Naxal affected states, the Centre is planning to seek cooperation from all states in preparing a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to deal with any crisis arising out of kidnapping.

The Home Ministry is likely to write to all states and ask them to put forward their views on formulating an SOP to deal with any hostage situation, official sources said.

The necessity of an SOP arose in view of the problems being faced by the Odisha government following abduction of an MLA and two Italians by the Naxals and subsequent demands of the rebels to release jailed colleagues.

The SOP, if formulated after consultation with the states, would chart out the course of action for the states as well as Central government on how to deal with such a crisis and how much one should yield to fulfil the abductors` demands, sources said.