Raipur, Apr 23 (PTI) : Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on Monday said that the state government was trying its best to ensure safe release of the Sukma district Collector Alex Paul Menon who was abducted by Naxals on Saturday.
“The state government is exploring all better options to ensure safe release of the officer from naxals and is taking all efforts in this regard,” he told reporters.
Singh said the state government has been in continuous touch with the Centre since the IAS officer was kidnapped on Saturday by the ultras from Majhipara village in Sukma district where he was attending a government outreach programme.
“All neighbouring states have been alerted about the abduction and there is better coordination in all the states…We are continuously in touch with the Centre,” the chief minister said.
He also said that an all-party meeting has been convened in Raipur this evening and the suggestions emerging at the meeting could be helpful in ensuring the release of the collector.
Meanwhile, Additional Director General of Police Ram Nivas (anti-Naxal operations) said that the abducted IAS officer was “safe” even as his captors are frequently changing their hideouts.
“The state police is in touch with their counterparts from the bordering states,” he said, adding the security of the senior officers working in the Naxal-infested areas has been increased following the incident.
On Sunday maoists set April 25 as deadline for the release of the IAS officer and demanded release of eight of their jailed leaders in Chattisgarh in exchange of the collector's freedom.
The Chhattisgarh government has set up a ministerial team under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister to look into the abduction issue.
State Home Minister Nanki Ram Kanwar, Tribal Welfare Minister Kedar Kashyap, Water Resources Minister Ramvichar Netam and School Education Minister Brijmohan Agrawal would be part of the committee, sources said.
In New Delhi, a high-level meeting chaired by Home Minister P Chidambaram took stock of the situation arising out of the hostage crisis.
After the meeting, attended by National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, Union Home Secretary R K Singh, besides others, the Home Ministry sent an advisory to Naxal-affected states asking them to take all precautionary security steps when politicians and administrative officials visit these areas.
Earlier, the Union Home Secretary said, “We are in regular touch with the state government. Whatever support is needed by them is being given, will be given”.
On Sunday maoists had demanded release of eight of their jailed leaders, including two women, in Chhattisgarh and a halt to anti-Naxal operation for the release of Menon.