New Delhi, April 24: “Tough” negotiations will begin tomorrow for the release of Chhattisgarh collector Alex Paul Menon, believed to be severely ill with asthma in Maoist captivity. The government is unlikely to yield easily to the Maoists’ demand for the release of eight “hard-core” rebels, sources said.
Two of the three Maoist-named interlocutors, lawyer Prashant Bhushan and Adivasi activist Manish Kunjam, have refused to mediate. But two former state officials, Nirmala Buch and S.K. Mishra, have agreed to join activist B.D. Sharma in the hostage talks. Kunjam travelled deep into Maoist territory today with medicines for Menon, who has been constantly exposed to allergens such as pollen from the forests, police said.