Sukma (Chhattisgarh): Maoist militants Thursday released Chhattisgarh`s Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon after keeping him hostage for 12 days. Menon said he was willing to serve in Sukma as collector again.
Menon, an IAS officer from Tamil Nadu, walked out of the Maoists hideout after 6.30 p.m. looking tired and exhausted. He was abducted from a forested area in Bastar region in Chhattisgarh April 21.
Menon expressed gratitude for his safe release. "I thank the mediators, my state government, my chief minister, my family members and mediapersons," the Sukma collector told reporters gathered at Tarmetla to receive him.
Asked if his health was fine, the asthma patient, who was wearing a blue shirt and carrying a black bag on his right shoulder, said he was "OK".
Asked if he would serve as collector in Sukma district again, he replied in the affirmative. "If the state government wishes, I am ready to serve in Sukma district as collector," Menon said.
He was accompanied by one of the Maoist mediators - B.D. Sharma.
Asthma medicines had been sent to the 2006 batch IAS officer through Left leader Manish Kunjam.
Chief Minister Raman Singh welcomed the release and expressed his thanks to the media in the "campaign for the safe release of the collector". He described the release as a "first step toward achieving peace with the Maoists in the state."