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'Chattisgarh clueless about collector's whereabouts'

Chhattisgarh,Terrorism, Sun, 22 Apr 2012 IANS

Raipur, April 22 (IANS) The Chattisgarh Police is "totally clueless" about the whereabouts of Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon, who has been abducted by Maoists, while the state government is awaiting a message or demands from the rebels for his release, an official said Sunday.


Meanwhile, Sukma, one of the worst Maoist-insurgency hit districts in India, observed a shutdown Sunday in protest against Menon's abduction. The 2006 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer was taken at gunpoint by rebels from a forested location when he was interacting with tribals about their problems Saturday evening.


"We combed certain parts of the forests which are Maoist strongholds and areas adjoining Andhra Pradesh Sunday to rescue the abducted 32-year-old collector but we are totally clueless, we have no idea at which part of their hideouts the rebels have kept him hostage," a senior officer at police headquarters who heads anti-Maoist operation in the state told IANS.


Chhattisgarh Police confirmed Sunday that despite an intense search operation to nab the abductors "no clue whatsoever was found about Menon". This the first abduction of any IAS officer in the mineral-rich state since Maoist insurgency broke out in the late 1980s.


"The state government and the police department are eagerly waiting for a message or demands from the Maoists to release the young IAS officer," the senior officer said.


Maoists clad in tribal outfits abducted Menon in full public view, killing his two guards when they attempted to resist.


Menon, who hails from Tamil Nadu, was taken hostage from a forested area Manjhipara, around 500 km south of Raipur.


Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, who has been heading a BJP government in the state since December 2003, and the opposition Congress have appealed to the Maoists to release the district collector immediately.


Menon's wife Asha also made a fresh appeal Sunday to the Maoists through local news channels to release her husband as he is suffering from asthma and not carrying his medicines with him.


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