In Jharkhand, Naxals have killed a senior intelligence officer they kidnapped near Ranchi on September 30. Francis Induwar, Special Branch Inspector, was meeting a source in a market in Jharkhand's Khunti district, when he was kidnapped.
The Naxals had said they would free Induwar if the government released Kobad Ghandy, Chattradhar Mahato, and Chandra Bhushan Yadav. The government rejected this proposed swap on Sunday.
The Inspector's body was found on the Ranchi-Jamshedpur Highway on Tuesday morning. His head had been severed from his body. Near the Inspector's body, a note by the Naxals, attributing his death to 'police repression'.
Among Induwar's colleagues, there's mourning mixed with anger. "We are ready to do our duty, but we need protection . In this atmosphere, how can we carry on working?" asks Ramsarekh Singh, Head, Jharkhand Police Association.
On Saturday, local newspapers reported that the Maoists had asked for three of their leaders to be released from prison in exchange for Induwar. The leaders the Naxals were bargaining for were listed as Kobad Ghandy, Chhatradhar Mahto and Chandra Bhushan Yadav, all arrested in the last fortnight.
But the government says no such offer was received. The Home Ministry has also clarified that Induwar's murder is not related to Ghandy, Mahato and Yadav.
Francis Induwar is survived by three children and his wife. While he was being held hostage, his wife, Sunita, had emphasized, "He is a junior officer. His release should not be at the cost of the release of three top Naxal leaders."
The government has said Induwar's Taliban-style execution will not affect their operations against the Maoists. Home Minister P Chidambaram says, "No government in India can accept an armed liberation struggle. We are implacably opposed to each other.''
The biggest irony: the police force in the Red Corridor of Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa and Andhra is often drawn from the very tribal settlements the Naxals claim to protect.