Retired bureaucrat S R Sankaran, who had played a crucial role in bringing the Maoists and Andhra Pradesh government together for the first ever direct peace talks six years ago, passed away on Thursday after a brief illness.
Sankaran, as a leading human rights activist and a member of Concerned Citizens Committee had worked with other prominent people to pave the way for direct talks between the state government and the top leaders of CPI-Maoist and CPI-Maoist Leninist-Janashakti in 2004. However the talks could not progress beyond the first round as serious differences arose over the issue of Maoists moving around with weapons.
Sankaran was part of the group of 16 IAS officers who were abducted by the Naxalites of People's War in East Godavari district in 1987.
Even as a serving IAS officer Sankaran had made a name for himself for his tireless work to uplift the weaker sections specially the tribal and the Dalit communities in the state. He was so popular while serving in the tribal areas of Khammam and Adilabad districts in the state that people agitated when he was transferred from there.
He also played an important role as the commissioner for tribal welfare in the state. Sankaran also served as chief secretary in Tripura and Assam. He was also on the committee constituted on the right for food by the Supreme Court and the state government's committee on the rights of tribal people.
Chief Minister K Rosaiah and the leader of opposition N Chandrababu Naidu have condoled the death of Sankaran. Expressing shock and grief, Rosaiah said that he rendered yeomen service to the state and Centre. He said Sankaran was loved by all for his simplicity and humane qualities.
Recalling his services Chandrababu Naidu said that he had endeared himself to the people as he continued to serve them even after retirement.