New Delhi: Hours after Maoists named three mediators for negotiations to release abducted Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon, senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan – one of the nominees – on Tuesday said he would not get involved in negotiations.
Bhushan, a member of Team Anna, reportedly said that he cannot mediate in such kind of problems. He however appealed to Maoists to release the IAS officer unconditionally.
Bhushan said some of the Maoists’ demands were justified but added, it was not right to abduct an officer to use him as a bargaining tool.
Apart from Bhushan, Naxals had last night named BD Sharma and Manish Kunjam as mediators for the negotiations.
Kunjam, a local MLA, has also refused to mediate in the matter.
Menon was kidnapped by Naxals last Saturday in Sukma district in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region.
While naming the mediators, Maoists said the condition of Menon, who is asthmatic, was critical and asked the mediators to bring medicines along.
On Monday, in view of the abduction, the state government reportedly halted anti-Naxal operations in Bastar region. However, the security forces have reportedly managed to trace the Collector with the help of unmanned aerial vehicles. Around 400 Naxals are reported to be guarding the IAS officer.
The Dandakaranya special zonal committee of CPI-Maoist, which carried out the abduction, has set a deadline of April 25 to meet all their demands for the safe release of the Collector.
Maoists’ demands include suspension of Operation Green Hunt in Bastar and the release of eight ultras.