Even though there is a lot of resentment among the common people against the maoist over the abduction of Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon but still many feel that this was an incident which could have been avoided had police and the collector himself been more careful.
According to locals the police protection provided to Menon who was abducted by the maoist as he was listening to villagers in Keralapal during the Gram Suraj Abhiyan was absolutely negligible. He was only provided with two gunmen, Kisan Kujur and Ahmed, both of whom were shot dead by the maoist which had woman members too.
Senior Congress leader and former minister Satyanarayan Sharma said that if more protection was given to the officer who was posted in a maoist hotbed then the incident would not have happened. “I was in Sukma two days before he was abducted and it was visible that adequate protection was not being given to the officers who were involved in the Gram Suraj Abhiyaan.”
This was admitted by a senior police official in Police Head quarters Raipur. “Security failure did happen. On Friday just a day before Menon’s abduction the maoist had done a land mine blast in which threepeople were killed. This should have alerted the police and the threat perception should have been reviewed, which was not done.”
A police sources said that even the Intelligence Bureau had given the state government inputs that the maosits are going to target bureaucrats.
The source added that lapse on the part of the security cover made Menon a soft target. “There was negligence on the part of the police.” The same sentiments were echoed by journalists who have been following the event. They however added that the fault lies with Menon too. “He is an IAS officer and he should have realized that he was a high value target and taken necessary precaution. Now the state government will pay the price of his carelessness by releasing hard core maoists”.
The place from where Menon was abducted at around 4.30 PM is close to a CRPF camp that is located just 3 Km away but even then also the maoist could easily come and execute their plan. He was accompanied by other senior officials of the district including the SDM,CEO, BEO, none of whom were even touched by the maoist who had obviously come with a fixed target in mind.
Karan Singh a local politician that the town is still to come in terms with the event that has suddenly made Sukma a house hold name. “Menon joined here only three months back and this was his first posting. Why adequate protection was not provided to him is something that only the officials can say.”