Collector fine, say mediators after meeting Maoists

Alex Paul Menon
Raipur, Apr 29: Abducted Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon is in "good health", said the two mediators who briefed Maoists on their talks with the Chhattisgarh government on their demands for release of the IAS officer.

B D Sharma, a former IAS officer, and Hyderabad-based academic Professor G Hargopal, who have held two rounds of talks on behalf of the Maoists, returned to Chintanlar today after visiting Tadmetla forests, where they had gone yesterday to update Maoists about the deliberations with the government.

The two mediators told reporters that they will now meet the government-appointed interlocutors Nirmala Buch and S K Mishra and give them details of their talks with the Maoists.

They declined to share with the media details of their discussions with the rebels, who have put forward three demands for the release of the 32-year-old 2006-batch IAS officer.

Sharma and Hargopal said they did not meet Menon, who was abducted on April 21 from Majhipara village in Raipur district, but they were told by Naxal leaders that he was in "good health". He was abducted when he was holding a meeting as part of the government's Special Gram Suraj Abhiyan.

A CPI leader had last week delivered medicines for the officer who is asthmatic.

The Maoist-appointed mediators reached Chintanlar, about 450 kms from the state capital, this morning from Tadmetla, a Naxal stronghold in Sukma district.

Their arrival in Raipur was delayed due to bad weather in Chintanlar, government officials said.

No breakthrough has been achieved after two rounds of talks between the mediators appointed by the Maoists and the state government.

To free the bureaucrat, Maoists have demanded release of 17 of their jailed leaders, halt to the anti-Maoist offensive "Operation Green Hunt" and sending security forces in Bastar to the barracks.


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