Raipur, Apr 24 (ANI): The Chhattisgarh Government on Tuesday named two former bureaucrats for holding talks with Maoists to secure the release of abducted Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon.
The two mediators- SK Mishra and N Buch- have served as chief secretaries of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, respectively.
The development came a day after Maoists named three mediators for negotiations. Out of the three, two - senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan and local MLA Manish Kunjam - have already refused to mediate in the matter.
Earlier, Bhushan said: "No, I cannot mediate in this situation, because in my view, kidnapping a civilian officer and holding him as a hostage and then negotiating is not correct. So, I believe that the Maoists must release this officer unconditionally." Some of the demands of the ultras were legitimate and thus, the government must look into the matter and take adequate measures to address their problems," he added.
The Naxals have demanded the release of eight colleagues: Markam Gopanna alias Satyam Reddy, Nirmal Akka alias Vijay Laxmi, Devpal Chandrashekhar Reddy, Shantipriya Reddy, Meena Choudhari, Korsa Sunny, Markam Sunny and Asit Kumar Sen.
The ultras also want anti-Naxal Operation Green Hunt to be cancelled, security forces to be withdrawn from the region and persons against whom they allege "fake cases" have been registered, released from the jails.
In an audacious operation, Maoist rebels on Saturday abducted Menon, an IAS officer of 2006 batch, from the middle of a meeting with villagers from Majhipara village in Keralapal area of the Naxal-infected district.
The Sukma district collector's kidnapping comes even as uncertainty continues over the fate of ruling BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka in neighbouring Odisha who was abducted by the Maoists about a month ago.
Menon is the first collector of the newly-created Sukma district and was known to be pro-active in undertaking development work in the backward region. (ANI)
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