Collector abduction: No breakthrough in talks

Raipur: Mediators on Friday failed to achieve any breakthrough to secure the release of abducted Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon after the second round of talks even as Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh asserted that the demands of the Maoists would be considered only “within the legal framework”.

Addressing a press conference here, he said securing the release of Menon was government`s first priority.

“We are all bound by the legal framework and the Maoists` demands can be considered only within this framework,” he said adding that talks with the ultras were positive and the collector would be released soon.

As to the allegations of atrocities committed by the state agencies on the tribals, Singh said one of the two guards who were shot dead by the Maoists while abducting the collector, was a tribal and most victims of the Maoist violence in Bastar also happened to be tribals.

As the hostage crisis entered the seventh day on Friday, mediators of the state government and the Maoists failed to achieve any breakthrough to secure the release of Menon.

The Maoists have demanded release of 17 of their jailed leaders, including two women, halt to the anti-Maoist offensive “Operation Green Hunt” and sending security forces in Bastar to barracks to set free Menon, who was abducted last Saturday.