Alex Paul Menon returns back home safely

Alex Paul MenonChhattisgarh’s Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon reached home Friday morning, 13 days after he had been kidnapped by the Maoists.

His wife Asha, who is pregnant, was there to receive him at the door of their home. As he was greeted by his wife and other family members with the traditional ‘aarti’, scores of media personnel jostled with each other to capture the moment. There were also many locals from Sukma to greet Menon.

Menon, the 32-year-old Indian Administrative Service official, had emerged Thursday from captivity at 6.30 p.m., accompanied by Maoist mediators, in Tarmetla, a tiny forested hamlet.

In a significant comment, Chief Minister Raman Singh had described the release as a ‘first step toward achieving peace with the Maoists in the state’.

Menon had been abducted from a forested area in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh April 21. The Maoists took him away after murdering his two bodyguards Amjad Khan and Kishen Kujur.

He is believed to have been held by Maoists deep in a forest, amid multiple layers of security.

Menon’s release was ensured after Maoist interlocutors and government mediators Nirmala Buch and S.K. Mishra signed a two-page agreement Monday night.

In line with the pact, a high-power committee will be set up to look into all demands made by the Maoists.

These include considering the release of Maoists jailed allegedly on fake charges.