The release of abducted Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon still seems far away as talks between the mediators of the government and Maoists are yet to reach a common ground.
The mediators chosen by the Maoists,Professor G Haragopal and B D Sharma,returned from Sukma on Sunday after spending around 24 hours with Menons abductors. The meeting took place in Dandakaranya forest,where they briefed the Maoists about the governments position. While they could not meet Menon,they later told the media that they had been conveyed that the Collector was safe and in good health.
Later in the evening,the duo held a nearly two-hour meeting with the government negotiators retired bureaucrats S K Mishra and Nirmala Buch. We have conveyed the other side to the government. Its up to them to see what they will do. B D Sharma told The Indian Express.
The two sides will meet again on Monday after Buch and Mishra discuss the issue with Chief Minister Raman Singh. The talks have been going on for the last few days. The Maoists have sought the release of their jailed comrades and withdrawal of security forces from Bastar region,besides putting forth other demands.
With none of the sides appearing ready to concede,the release may not come soon. Tonight will be Menons ninth in captivity. Last year,abducted Malkangiri Collector R Vineel Krishna was released on the ninth day.
Slamming the state government for its inactivity and indecisiveness state Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel said,They first delayed in naming their mediators,then delayed in conveying their message… they have bungled the case.
Shun violence: Ramesh to Maoists
Dumka: Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Sunday asked Maoists to drop guns and join the mainstream. Doors are open for any (extremist) outfit willing to join the democratic process by contesting elections as there is no place for violence in the land of Buddha and Gandhi, Ramesh said at Dhaka village in Dumka district. Out of the countrys 78 Maoist-affected districts,17 are in Jharkhand and the menace of terrorism could be tackled through rapid progressive work,said Ramesh.