The abducted collector of Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district, Alex Paul Menon, is doing fine, tribal leader Manish Kunjam, who carried medicines for the IAS officer, said after meeting Naxal captors on Thursday.
Kunjam, who had gone to deliver medicines for Menon in the jungles of Sukma returned on Thursday and said that the collector was safe. He was, however, not allowed to meet Menon.
Talks between Maoists and government would begin on Thursday with B.D. Sharma — one of the negotiators appointed by the rebels — arriving in the Chhattisgarh capital. The second mediator — Professor Hargopal — was also expected to reach from Hyderabad.
The Maoist deadline set for the state government ended on Wednesday evening and the chief minister once again appealed to the rebels to come to the negotiating table. There were earlier rumours that the Naxals had extended their deadline for the state government to accept their demands to secure Menon’s release by two days.
There was a high level meeting of the state cabinet sub-committee late on Wednesday night in which both the government-appointed mediators were present. They discussed strategies to end the five-day old crisis.