Chhattisgarh DM’s abduction: Deadlock continues



Raipur: Talks between mediators of Chhattisgarh government and the Maoists to end the nine-day-old hostage crisis involving Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon remained deadlocked on Sunday night after the end of the third round.

The two mediators from the Maoist side who briefed Menon's captors on their talks with the state government on their demands for release of the 32-year IAS officer ahead of the third round said he is in "good health".

Nirmala Buch, one of the two Government mediators, told reporters tonight after the end of the inconclusive third round that they have been briefed about the latest Maoist stand on their demands and it will communicated to the government.

"What these people(Maoist mediators) talked there, we have been told. We will convey this to the state government," Buch said. A fourth round of talks between the two sides is expected to take place tomorrow.

Maoists' mediators BD Sharma, a former IAS officer, and Hyderabad-based academic Professor G Hargopal returned to Chintanlar, about 450 km from here, today after visiting Tadmetla forests, where they had gone yesterday to update Maoists about the deliberations with the government. Their arrival in the state capital was delayed due to bad weather.

The two mediators gave details of their talks with the Maoists to Buch and fellow Government intermediary SK Mishra.

They declined to share with the media details of their discussions with the rebels, who have put forward three demands for the release of the officer.

Sharma and Hargopal said they did not meet Menon, who was abducted on April 21 from Majhipara village in Raipur district, but they were told by Naxal leaders that he was in "good health". He was abducted when he was holding a meeting as part of the government's Special Gram Suraj Abhiyan.

The Maoist-appointed mediators reached Chintanlar this morning from Tadmetla, a Naxal stronghold in Sukma district.

To free the bureaucrat, Maoists have demanded release of 17 of their jailed leaders, halt to the anti-Maoist offensive "Operation Green Hunt" and sending security forces in Bastar to the barracks.

PTI