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Collector's abduction: Agnivesh asks Maoists to come forward for talks

New Delhi, Sun, 22 Apr 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Apr 22 (ANI): Social activist Swami Agnivesh on Sunday condemned the abduction of the Collector of Chhattisgarh's Sukma District, Alex Paul Menon, and asked the Maoists to come forward for talks.

Terming the abduction as unfortunate, Agnivesh urged the ultras not to cause harm to Menon.

"It is very unfortunate that a very upright, duty conscious and hard working Collector, Alex Paul Menon of Sukma district, has been abducted by the Maoists. I condemn this type of abduction and I do not approve of any such bargaining, which has been undertaken by the Maoists in the past," said Agnivesh.

"And yet, I am deeply concerned about the health and well-being of our collector and therefore, I appeal to the Maoists not to do anything by way of bodily harm, torture either physical or mental to our Collector Mr. Menon," he added.

Agnivesh asked the Maoists to put forward their demands, and urged Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh to implement them in letter and spirit.At the same time, I would like them to put forward whatever their demands are. Without losing any time, they should give as much of negotiation time as possible so that their demands could be considered sympathetically and could be acted upon," said Agnivesh.

"I would urge the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Dr. Raman Singh, to go by the implementation of those demands in letter and in spirit. Let there be no such thing as cheating the Maoists, or trying to track them down through some mediators, or through some negotiation process," he added."

Agnivesh also appeared to be hopeful that the Maoists would cause no harm to Menon and cited the example of abduction of former Malkangiri Collector R. Vineel Krishna and the recently released Italian national Paolo Boscusco to support his statement.

"I am very very hopeful that no harm will be done to the Collector. All the past track record of the Maoists capturing either Vineel Krishna keeping him hostage for more than eight-nine days. Later on, (they) recently released the Italian," he said.

Naxals had last year kidnapped the Collector of Odisha's Malkanagiri District R Veenel Krishan along with a junior engineer and released them after the state government agreed to fulfill all 14 demands of the rebels including withdrawal of cases against top CPI (Maoist) leaders Prasadam, Padma and Eswari to facilitate their release from jails.

In an audacious daylight operation, Maoist rebels on Saturday abducted Alex Paul Menon from the middle of a meeting with villagers.

Menon, an IAS officer of 2006 batch, was kidnapped from Majhipara village in Keralapal area of the Naxal-infected district.

The Sukma district collector's kidnapping comes even as uncertainty continues over the fate of ruling BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka in neighbouring Odisha who was abducted by the Maoists about a month ago.

Menon is the first collector of the newly-created Sukma district and was known to be pro-active in undertaking development work in the backward region.

In Odisha, two Italians were abducted by Maoists, who freed them after a month in captivity after the state government acceded to their demand to release some of the jailed left-wing extremists. (ANI)

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