The Chhattisgarh government is all set to start the negotiating process and by all means wants to get back the kidnapped loyal officer, safe.
The whereabouts of the kidnapped Sukma district Collector Alex Paul Menon, are still at large. The Chhattisgarh government is ready with a five member team to negotiate with the Maoists for securing the safe release of the man of masses. The high level team would consist of Home Minister Nankiram Kunvar, PWD Minister Brij Mohan Agarwal, Rural Development Minister Ram Vichar and another minister Kedar Kashyap. The decision to this effect was taken at the Chief Minister Raman Singh's residence yesterday. The meeting accrued more importance as the government met after the kidnappers released their set of demands, setting a deadline of April 25.
Among the many the main demands declared by the Maoists included to release the 32-year old Collector were withdrawal of paramilitary forces from Bastar, a known stronghold of the rebels, and a halt to Operation Green Hunt at large. Conceding to the demands will only dampen the spirits of the officers who are bravely fighting the war against these rebels. But being rigid will prove otherwise which is unimaginable at this stage. However Asha Alex (wife of the Collector), who is expecting the couple's first child, said that she had no news about the safety of her husband who is asthmatic. She had also appealed to the Maoists to release her husband on medical grounds.
This Collector, as per sources, had been the source of inspiration of many villagers to return to the main stream of activity. This did not go well with the Maoists who were rebellions to the government. In fact he had spearheaded the government initiative Gram Suraj Abhiyaan, meant to promote greater coordination and connect between the villagers and administration. Despite a serious threat from the Maoists in the region, the undeterred Officer attended the program at a village between Gadiras and Keralapal. This was a strong hold of the Maoists. He was abducted from the venue as he was giving his speech. However the public resented the way their ardent officer was abducted and staged a protest in the district disrupting general life.
Off late the Naxal movements have resorted to kidnappings. In the recent past in Orissa an MLA and two foreign tourists were abducted. Then a blast was triggered when the Collector of Bijapur and the local MLA escaped the landmine, recently. The rigorous combing operations of the government have put much pressure on the naxal say sources. (With inputs from internet- AarKay)