Centre plans uniform hostage policy

Centre plans uniform hostage policy

Common approach sought by BJP in RS

Centre plans uniform hostage policy

The Centre is studying the feasibility of a uniform hostage policy to deal with crisis arising  out of Maoists, terrorists or insurgents abducting and holding  civilians/government officials hostages.

“I have advised Home Ministry officials to have consultations with states on whether we could have a uniform hostage policy,” said Home Minister P Chidambaram in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

The demand for forming a uniform policy to deal with hostage crisis came as short notice question by senior BJP leader Prakash Javdekar. He raised the issue in the context of abduction of Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon and his subsequent release.

He referred to the statement of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh in which the CM had asserted his rejection of dialogue or mediation to resolve hostage crisis.

Javdekar said the CM had  said he would not go for a swap deal even if Maoists abducted him. He demanded a uniform policy to deal with such crises as these are not state-specific  and involve many states.

The home minister defended the stance that mediation and negotiation are the tools for resolving hostage crisis and said it is practised world over.

“We must take a practical view of having mediation and negotiations...Mediation is part of every government’s policy...Even Israel did this as it released 1,000 prisoners to get one soldier,” said the home minister.

 JDU leader Shivannad Tiwari asked whether deals to resolve earlier crises contributed to the increase in such incidents. 

Chidambaram also said “there is no nodal agency for hostages since Naxalism, insurgency and terrorism pose different kinds of challenges. The Intelligence Bureau is nodal intelligence agency”. Referring indirectly to NCTC, he said, a nodal agency to deal with terrorism is under debate.