C’garh: All-party meet to secure DM’s release

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh announced that an all-party meet would be convened over the issue.

Zeenews Bureau

Raipur: Stepping up the efforts to secure the release of kidnapped Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon, the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, Monday, announced that an all-party meet would be convened over the issue.

The state government has already set up a five-member team to negotiate with the Maoists.

The team under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Raman Singh has Home Minister Nankiram Kunvar, PWD Minister Brij Mohan Agarwal, Rural Development Minister Ram Vichar Netam and Minister Kedar Kashyap as members.

The decision to form a team for negotiation was taken after a high-level meeting at CM’s residence here.

Yesterday, Naxals demanded release of their eight associates before April 25 and suspension of `Operation Green Hunt` in exchange for Alex Paul’s release.

Senior state police officials said that they have received information that the Naxal leaders approached some media-persons to give their statements about their demands.

The Naxals have demanded the release of their 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The ultras also want anti-Naxal Operation Green Hunt to be cancelled, security forces to be withdrawn from the region and individuals against whom "fake cases" have been registered, released from jails, officials said.

The Naxals have put up a deadline of April 25 before the government, after which, they would take a decision about the abducted Collector in a Jan Adalat, police said.

According to Additional Director General of Police Ram Nivas (anti-Naxal operations), the Naxals have not established any direct contact with the government.

He said that police received information that the ultras had given their recorded statements to a few journalists. Ram Nivas said that the government is trying to verify whether these demands have really come from the Naxals.

Nivas said that they are also trying to identify which group is behind the abduction.

Menon, a 2006-batch IAS officer, was abducted yesterday at Majhipara village where he was meeting villagers for a government outreach programme.

Asha Menon, the abducted officer`s wife, has appealed to Naxals to release her husband on humanitarian grounds, saying he was sick and does not have necessary medicines with him.

Centre in touch with Chhattisgarh govt

The Centre today said it was in constant touch with the Chhattisgarh government on the abduction of the Sukma Collector and providing all necessary help to resolve the crisis.

"We are in regular touch with the state government. Whatever support is needed by them is being given, will be given," Union Home Secretary R K Singh told reporters here.

With PTI inputs

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