How to handle a hostage crisis

Nitish Kumar neither yielded an inch nor resorted to bravado

ajay

Ajay Singh | September 7, 2010



If firmness is shorn of political posturing and bravado, it is taken rather seriously. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar successfully proved in the hostage crisis that a mature, sagacious political conduct, not irrational flamboyance, is a rewarding recourse in statecraft. There is no doubt that as the hostage crisis unfolded the Nitish Kumar government was walking on a razor edge. But, despite intense pressure, the chief minister never displayed signs of impetuousness.

His first message to the Maoists was conveyed in unambiguous terms that conveyed that though he was willing to talk, he was not a pushover who would capitulate to any demand. In his first message, he reminded the Maoists of the Bihar government’s record on human rights and hoped that the Maoists would reciprocate.  In a strategy that concealed iron fist in velvet gloves, Kumar dismissed the possibility of releasing eight Maoists in exchange for the hostages.

Perhaps Nitish Kumar was well aware of the contradictions within the Maoists’ rank and file. He mobilised people’s opinion against the killing of Lucas Tete, a police sub-inspector, by the Maoists as a sign of desperation and brutality. There were definite signs of frustration in the left extremists’ camp when they realised the tactical mistake of killing Tete. On the other hand, Kumar continued to send across the message of engagement with the Maoists and offered talks to discuss the issue face to face. During the entire crisis, he sounded earnest without yielding an inch.

Clearly, the Maoists found people’s pressure too intense to resist. Intellectuals ranging from Mahashweta Devi and Arundhati Roy to democratic rights’ champions like GN Saibaba rallied around the efforts to get the hostages released. When the hostages were finally released, Nitish Kumar once again displayed  maturity and equanimity  which are the hallmarks of an evolved leader. He appealed to the Maoists to shun the path of violence and join the electoral battle. Once again he was cautious enough to not sound complacent and directed the state administration to be on its guard in view of the coming elections.  

Comments

 

Other News

Yoga Day has changed perceptions about it in ten years: PM

The expanding awareness of Yoga over the past ten years has changed perceptions associated with it, prime minister Narendra Modi said in Srinagar on Friday on the occasion of the International Day of Yoga.   “Yoga is now emerging beyond limited boundaries. The world is witnessing t

Listening to tomorrow: The imperative for youth-driven data in India

Over a decade and a half ago when I was still a student, millennials felt the burning need to break down the barriers of gatekeeping in traditional media. Young voices, brimming with ideas and opinions, were often sidelined, their perspectives deemed too marginal or unrefined for mainstream discourse. This

Israel-Palestine War: Lessons from Past Peace Efforts

Israel-Palestine War: Give Peace a Chance By Dr. Joseph K. Thomas IndiePress, 243 pages, Rs 399 T

How inner work helps subvert painful narratives

Unashamed By Neha Bhat HarperCollins, 240 pages, Rs 499   * How do I connect better with my partner? *&nbs

Heatwave spikes power demand: measures taken to ensure supply

The Northern Region has been experiencing high power demand conditions due to a prevailing heat wave since May 17. Despite these challenging conditions, the highest ever peak demand of 89 GW in the Northern Region was successfully met on June 17. This achievement was made possible by import

PM to release 17th installment of PM-KISAN at Varanasi on Tuesday

Prime minister Narendra Modi will release the 17th instalment of the PM-KISAN scheme on Tuesday at Varanasi and more than 9.26 crore farmers will receive the benefits amounting to over Rs.20,000 crore. The PM will also distribute the certificates to more than 30,000 SHGs trained as Krishi Sakhis to work as

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook Twitter Google Plus Linkedin Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter