Collector abduction: C'garh govt ready for talks with Naxals
Political parties in Chhattisgarh today issued a joint appeal to the Maoists, demanding a safe release of abducted Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon, even as the Raman Singh government made it clear that it is ready to hold talks to resolve the issue.
After an all-party meeting convened here to discuss the issue, Chief Minister Raman Singh told reporters that all the parties have come out with a joint appeal, which says that the matter could be settled through talks.
Singh said that in the democratic system, all the problems and issues could be solved through talks. The state government is of the opinion that holding talks is the best way to solve the issue, he said.
The meeting, which went on for about two hours, was attended by senior leaders of the ruling BJP, Opposition Congress, CPI, CPI(M), NCP and other parties. Singh said that different parties gave their valuable suggestions.
When asked about the reported deadline given by the Maoists to the state government to meet their demands, Raman Singh said that so far, their demands have come only through media and the government is thinking over them.
On being asked about the name of government's mediator on this issue, the chief minister said the Maoists should first come forward and do so in this regard.
On rebels' demands that Operation Green Hunt be stopped, Raman Singh said that the government has neither started any operation against them, nor have they stopped it.
Menon, a 2006-batch IAS officer, was abducted at gunpoint on Saturday at Majhipara village, where he was meeting villagers for a government outreach programme. The Maoists killed his two guards when they resisted his abduction.
According to police officials, yesterday, the Naxals had demanded the release of their eight associates before April 25 and suspension of 'Operation Green Hunt' in exchange for his release.
The ultras had also demanded the withdrawal of security forces from the region and the release of individuals against whom "fake cases" were registered.
Maoists late Sunday said in a message taped anonymously that Chhattisgarh's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime must free their colleagues - Marakam Gopannam, Nirmal Akka, Devpal Chandra Shekher Reddy, Shanti Priya Reddy, Meena Chowdhary, Korasa Sunny, Markan Sunny and Asit Kumar Sen - by April 25 in exchange of the kidnapped district collector.
Last night, the state government had appointed a sub-committee under the chairmanship of the chief minister to look into the issue.