Raipur, Apr 25: Reiterating that the release of abducted Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon was the primary concern of the state government, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh on Wednesday said the authorities have pinned their hopes on mediators to end the hostage crisis.
“We want that our collector must be released. So, this is the only goal, we are not concerned about anything else right now. We just want that the discussions must begin so that the collector is released as soon as possible,” Singh told media here.
Singh further said the mediators would be present in the city and added that they were fully prepared to tackle the case.
“See, our mediators will be in Raipur today and in the evening, there will be a briefing. We have a meeting with the group of Ministers as well and the mediators in this case, we have a meeting with them as well. So, we are fully prepared,” he said.
The state government had appointed two retired bureaucrats Nirmala Buch and S. K. Mishra, as mediators to negotiate with the ultras to secure Menon’s safe release.
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The ultras also want anti-Naxal Operation Green Hunt to be cancelled, security forces to be withdrawn from the region and persons against whom they allege “fake cases” have been registered, released from the jails.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)