Maoists set a deadline of 3 days for release of Alex Paul Menon

24 hours after the abduction of Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon,  Maoists have set terms for his release. They want an immediate stop on the Operation Green Hunt along with release of 8 hard-core Naxals including 2 Women Maoists. They have also set a  deadline of 3 days.

The demands were made even as spiritual leaderSwami Agnivesh expressed willingness to mediate between the Naxals and the government to secure the release of the 32-year-old 2006-batch IAS officer, who was abducted yesterday at Majhipara village in Raipur district where he was meeting villagers for a government outreach programme.

Additional Director General of Police Ram Nivas (anti- Naxal operations) told reporters that the demands were made by an unidentified Naxal leader in an audio message to media organisations. The authenticity of the audio tape was being verified, he said, adding no Maoist group has got in touch yet with the state government.

According to Nivas, the demands made were an immediate halt to “Operation Green Hunt”(anti-Maoist offensive), sending security forces in Bastar region back to the barracks and release of eight jailed Maoist leaders including two women. In the message, the Maoist leader has alleged that false cases have been foisted against the eight jailed ultras.

Nivas said police have received some vital clues and added that Menon was safe.

Swami Agnivesh told PTI he was ready to mediate and was waiting for the government or the Naxals to approach him.

Menon’s wife Asha in a fresh appeal said the Naxals should release her husband saying they were married only a few months ago and he had always worked for the people. She said that Menon had some health problems and was not carrying adequate medicines when he was abducted.

“He is an asthmatic patient and I request the government and the Naxals to understand that he is just left with two doses of medication,” she said, adding that he would not be able to cope up with in case of an emergency.

The Association of IAS Officers in Chattisgarh held a meeting here today and appealed to the ultras to release the Collector unharmed.

Locals in the area where Menon was kidnapped took out a peace march to demand his release. A large number of people, including school children, participated.