Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sukma Collactor Release

I am fine, want to reach home soon, says collector after release

Mayur Parikh, ABP News Correspondent
Thursday, 03 May 2012 15:32

Raipur: Sukma collector Alex Paul Menon, who was held hostage by Maoists for 12 days, told reporters after being released that he is fine and wants to reach his home as soon as possible. He also thanked the mediators on both the sides to have made this release possible.
Asked if he would serve as collector in Sukma district again, he replied:"If the state government wishes, I am ready to serve in Sukma district as collector."
Menon walked out of the Maoists hideout after 6.30 p.m. looking tired and exhausted and seemed desperate to be with his loved ones.
Menon was handed over to Prof. G Hargopal and BD Sharma, the two mediators handpicked by the ultras, at a secret location in Tarmetla jungle, deep inside the ‘Red Zone’ 500 kilometres from Raipur.
Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh welcomed the release and expressed his thanks to the media in the "campaign for the safe release of the collector". He described the release as a "first step toward achieving peace with the Maoists in the state."
Meanwhile, celebrations also broke out at his family home in Chennai where his relatives could be seen bursting firecrackers and distributing sweets among the people.
Earlier in the day mediators Professor Hargopal and BD Sharma left for securing his release.  A late night statement by the Maoists had said, "We are ready to hand over Menon on May 3 in front of people of Tadmetla."

The 32-year-old IAS officer, was abducted on April 21.  The breakthrough to ensure the safe return of Menon came in the form of an agreement between the mediators of the two sides at their fourth round of talks on Wednesday.

Under this, government has agreed to set up a high-powered committee headed by Nirmala Buch, one of the two government mediators, to review the cases of all prisoners languishing in Chhattisgarh jails including the cases demanded by the Maoists. The Maoists had earlier demanded release of eight of their jailed leaders and an immediate halt to operations by security forces against them for the release of Menon.
But the agreement finally reached does not envisage the release of any jailed Maoists. Last week, the Maoists sent an e-mail to the media, explaining why they had kidnapped Mr Menon. The e-mail said that the Sukma collector was engaged in anti-Maoist activities in the region which is why he became their target.

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