DM abduction: Centre-C’garh fine tune strategy



New Delhi: Government on Tuesday fine-tuned its strategy to deal with hostage crisis in Chhattisgarh and the way ahead to secure early release of Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon who was abducted by Maoists on Saturday.

A high-level meeting, chaired by Home Secretary RK Singh, assessed the situation and the future plan of action in Naxal-hit Chhattisgarh as the deadline set by the Maoists for release of eight of their associates in exchange for the 32-year-old IAS officer ends tomorrow.

The meeting was attended by CRPF chief K Vjay Kumar, CRPF Special DG (Operations) P M Nair, Chhattisgarh ADGP (naxal) Ram Nivas and CRPF IG (Raipur) Pankaj Singh among others.

"The meeting was to reaffirm and coordinate our efforts with the central forces and secure an early release for Sukma collector Alex Paul Menon. We discussed all the possibilities and we were assured of all the help," ADGP Ram Niwas said after the one-hour long meeting at the Home Ministry here.

"We have been assured of additional central forces, if the state so requires," he said.

An action plan, according to sources, to mobilise forces along the Chhattisgarh-Odisha border and ensure all steps to facilitate an early release of Menon from the clutches of the Maoists was discussed.

The CRPF, during the meeting, also briefed about taking help of technical and intelligence gathering network to detect any movement of Naxals in the jungles.

Any help from the special anti-Naxal unit CoBRA to Chhattisgarh police was also discussed, they said.

Both the Centre and Chattisgarh government are pinning hopes on the mediators of the state and Maoists to end the four-day hostage crisis involving the Sukma Collector whose "critical" health condition has prompted authorities to rush medicines for him today.

The sources termed the meeting between the central and state government officials as a "positive development" as unlike Odisha, which is also facing a similar hostage crisis following the kidnapping of a ruling MLA, Chhattisgarh government sent their officials to the capital for better coordination with the Centre.

PTI