(Photo: Facebook / Alex PAul Menon)
Alex Paul Menon
Chhattisgarh's Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon reached home on Friday morning after having been held captive for 13 days by the Maoists.
Menon, who was abducted while touring Manjipara village near Kerlapal on April 21, was released Thursday evening. He remained at the CRPF paramilitary base in the Chintalnar area before reaching home where his pregnant wife Asha and other family members gave him a rousing reception.
Sukuma district, where the collector is popular among the tribals, celebrated his release by bursting crackers. His relatives in Tirunelveli and Chennai in Tamil Nadu distributed sweets.
Earlier on Thursday, Menon thanked the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, state officials, mediators and others for their support and prayers for his release.
Meanwhile, a day after his release, questions have risen as to whether there was any secret deal between the government and the Maoists for the release of the collector.
Clearing the air on the secret deal claims, Chhatisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said that there was no such deal. "There is no secret deal or any understanding to facilitate the release of Alex Paul Menon," Singh told reporters.
The government negotiators too denied the secret deal claim. "There has been no secret deal. All that was agreed upon was that there would be a review committee that will look into their demands and how systems can be improved. This review committee has already started work," NDTV quoted one of the government negotiators, S K Mishra, as saying.
"No government says they will operationalise a committee within an hour. But we did it, as promised," he added.
The committee, set up by the government under the chairmanship of Nirmala Buch, former chief secretary of Madhya Pradesh and one of the two government mediators, will review the demands of the Maoists.
According to Prof Hargopal, one of the mediators, the main demand of the Maoists was to release the innocent tribals lodged in different jails.
"Nearly 341 cases have been given to the committee. The committee will review the cases and release the maximum number of them after looking at the case," he told media persons.
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