Raipur, Apr 24 (PTI): The Chhattisgarh government on Tuesday rushed medicines for abducted Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon hours after the Maoists informed them that he was critically ill.
The medicines are being sent through president of All India Adivasi Mahasabha Manish Kunjam, one of the mediators named by the Maoists for holding negotiations with the government. Though Kunjam has refused to take part in the mediation process, he has agreed to take the medicines to the collector.
On Monday night, the Maoists had named three mediators including lawyer Prashant Bhushan and Former National SC/ST Commission chairperson B D Sharma, for negotiations after the Chhattisgarh government offered to hold talks to free Menon from the extremists. The Naxals had said that only the three persons named by them will be allowed to negotiate in Tarimetla village and asked them to accept the invitation to act as mediators.
Kunjam, who had declined the Maoists' offer on Monday citing regional circumstances and party obligations, on Tuesday said that following the state government's request, he was ready to take medicines for the 32-year-old IAS officer, who is an asthma patient. “Menon's life is supreme. I will be going to Sukma soon to take the medicines and then proceed to Tarimetla. Thereafter, I will come back,” he said.
Chief Minister Raman Singh's Chief Secretary N Brijendra Kumar on Tuesday told PTI that few media persons from Naxal-hit Bastar region have also offered to take medicines for Menon, and the state government has decided to give them permission for the same, provided they keep a distance from police, lest it may prove detrimental to the officer's safety.
A worried Asha, Menon's wife, has also appealed to Maoists to send an audio/video tape of her husband, so that she can gauge his condition. She asked them to provide immediate medical relief to him in view of his critical state.
Chief Minister Raman Singh had said on Monday that the state government was exploring all options and making efforts to ensure safe release of Menon.
He said the state government has been in continuous touch with the Centre since the IAS officer was abducted.