Collector abduction: Cgarh govt names mediators

Raipur/New Delhi: Chhattisgarh government today named two former chief secretaries as its nominees for talks with Naxals for release of abducted Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon even as activists–Prashant Bhushan and Manish Kunjam–declined to mediate on behalf of the Maoists.

Former chief secretaries of Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh–Nirmala Buch and S K Mishra– have been deputed by the state government for talks with the abductors of the 32-year-old 2006 batch IAS officer, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh told reporters in Raipur.

"Buch and Mishra have been spoken to. They have stated that they will mediate with the Maoist mediators on behalf of the state government," he said.

"Because the talks process will be starting, there should not be any deadline for resolving the issue," Singh said.

The Chief Minister said even though the president of All India Adivasi Mahasabha Manish Kunjam had refused to mediate, the activist has responded to an appeal by him to carry medicines for Menon, whose condition had been described by the Naxals as "critical".

"We have been told by the family members that he (Menon) is an asthma patient and his health is deteriorating. Kunjam has agreed to send the medicine kit to Tarimetla village as soon as possible. We are constantly in touch on phone and we are getting information," the Chief Minister said.

Earlier, Menon`s wife Asha had said that Menon was not carrying adequate medicines when he was abducted on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Team Anna member and Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan declined to mediate on behalf of the Maoists but appealed to them to unconditionally release the Sukma District Collector.

"No, I am appealing to the Maoists to unconditionally release the collector. I agree to most of their demands which are justifiable but the Collector should not be used as a bargaining chip," Bhushan told PTI when asked if he would act as a mediator.