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Sukma collector Alex Paul Menon likely to be released by noon

Raipur, Thu, 03 May 2012 ANI

Raipur, May 3 (ANI): Abducted Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon is likely to be released by his Maoist captors around noon today.

A SMS message to this effect was received by the media on Tuesday night from the CPI (Maoist) south Bastar divisional committee.

The message was forwarded after an agreement reached between government negotiators and the Maoists over the release of Menon.

The message said among other things that the Maoists are ready to handover Menon to their mediators tomorrow in front of the people of Tadmetla in Chhattisgarh's South Bastar region.

Earlier, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said the mediators would be provided all facilities to get Menon back.

"We were hoping that they will release him within 48 hours but they have fixed the date of release for May 3. So we are okay with it, even if its 24 hours late. We welcome this decision and we will provide every facility to the mediators," Singh said.

The Maoists had kidnapped Menon after killing two of his bodyguards on April 21, while he was meeting with villagers of Majhipara village in the Keralapal area of the Naxal-infected district.

The Naxals had demanded the release of eight colleagues: Markam Gopanna alias Satyam Reddy, Nirmal Akka alias Vijay Laxmi, Devpal Chandrashekhar Reddy, Shantipriya Reddy, Meena Choudhari, Korsa Sunny, Markam Sunny and Asit Kumar Sen.

The ultras also wanted anti-Naxal Operation Green Hunt to be cancelled, security forces to be withdrawn from the region and persons against whom they allege "fake cases" have been registered, released from the jails.

The new agreement that has been concluded by the negotiators is different from the earlier demands of the Maoist abductors.

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. (ANI)

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