Tuesday, 24 April 2012

0 Abducted Sukma collector's health worsens, govt rushes medicines

The Chhattisgarh government today rushed medicines for abducted Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon hours after Maoists informed them he was critically ill.

The medicines are being sent through president of All India Adivasi Mahasabha Manish Kunjam, one of the mediators named by the Maoists for holding negotiations with the government.

Abducted Sukma collector Alex Paul Menon health

Though Kunjam has refused to take part in the mediation process, he has agreed to take the medicines to the collector.

Last night, the Maoists had named three mediators including lawyer Prashant Bhushan and former national SC/ST Commission chairperson B D Sharma, as their chosen negotiators after the Chhattisgarh government offered to hold talks to free Menon from the extremists.

The Naxals said only the three named by them would be allowed to negotiate in the Tarimetla village and asked them to accept the invitation to act as mediators.

Kunjam, who had declined the Maoists' offer yesterday citing regional circumstances and party obligations, said today he was ready to take medicines for the 32-year-old IAS officer, who is an asthma patient.

"Menon's life is supreme. I will be going to Sukma soon and then proceed to Tarimetla with the medicines. Thereafter, I will come back," he said.

Chief Minister Raman Singh's Chief Secretary N Brijendra Kumar told PTI today that a few journalists from the Naxal-hit Bastar region have also offered to take medicines for Menon. The state government has decided to give them permission provided they keep a distance from police, lest it proves detrimental to the officer's safety.

A worried Asha, Menon's wife, has also appealed to Maoists to send an audio or video tape of her husband, so that she can gauge his condition. She asked them to provide immediate medical relief to him in view of his critical state.

Chief Minister Raman Singh had said yesterday that the state government was exploring all options and making efforts to ensure the safe release of Menon.

He said the state government has been in continuous touch with the Centre since the IAS officer was abducted.

An all-party meeting was also convened in Raipur to discuss the issue, Singh said adding all parties have come out with a joint appeal, which says the matter should be settled through talks.

Earlier, the Chhattisgarh government also appointed a sub-committee under the chairmanship of the chief minister to look into the abduction.

The panel included State Home Minister Nanki Ram Kanwar, Tribal Welfare Minister Kedar Kashyap, Water Resources Minister Ramvichar Netam and School Education Minister Brijmohan Agrawal.

Naxals abducted the 2006 batch officer on Saturday from Majhipara village in Raipur district when he was holding a meeting as part of the government's special Gram Suraj Abhiyan.

A day later, the Maoists set a deadline of April 25 to fulfill their demands that included the immediate halt of all police action against them and the release of eight fellow comrades, including two women.

They had also asked the government not to indulge in "delay tactics" as Menon's health was worsening.

According to sources, Menon is being held hostage at the border of Chhattisgarh and Odisha and is kept under watch by nearly 400 armed Naxals.


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