Saturday, May 5, 2012

Alex Paul Menon IAS released

After 12 days in captivity, Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon was today released unharmed by Maoists bringing to an end the hostage crisis in Chattisgarh marked by some anxious moments just before he stepped out of the rebel stronghold.

The 32-year-old 2006-batch IAS officer, abducted on April 21 at Sukma, about 450 km from here, while touring a village was handed over to the two Maoist mediators B D Sharma and Prof G Hargopal, at Tadmetla in the evening and brought by road to the CRPF base camp at Chintalnar, a 30-minute drive by road.

Menon, who is an asthmatic and for whom medicines had to be rushed last week, in his first comments after being freed thanked Chattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, the state authorities, the mediators from the Government and the Maoist side, his family and friends, saying but for their cooperation his release would have been delayed.

 N Baijendra Kumar, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, said the state government immediately issued orders to form a review committee under an agreement to do so within an hour after the release of the Collector.

The agreement that was reached by the two mediators each of the Chattisgarh government and the Maoists at their fourth round of talks on April 30 paved the way for the release of the IAS officer.

Under the agreement, the government had agreed to set up a high-powered committee under the chairmanship of Nirmala Buch, one of the two Government mediators, to review the cases of all prisoners languishing in Chattisgarh jails including the cases demanded by the Maoists.

Chief Minister Raman Singh said the three-member committee, which also included the Chief Secretary and the DGP, will be meeting right away.

The Maoists' mediators reached Chintalnar village in Sukma district by a helicopter earlier in the day and then proceeded by road to secure Menon's release from a rebel-dominated forested area.


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