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Sukma collector safe: Police

Raipur: The police here today said they have received information that abducted Sukma collector Alex Paul Menon was safe even as spiritual leader Swami Agnivesh expressed willingness to mediate between the Naxals and the government.

Menon, a 2006-batch IAS officer, was abducted on Saturday at Majhipara village in the district where he was meeting villages for a government outreach programme. Additional Director General of Police Ram Nivas (anti- Naxal operations) said police have received some vital clues and added that 32-year-old Menon was safe. The ultras have not approached the government with any demand in return for Menon`s release, he said.

Swami Agnivesh told PTI he was ready to mediate for the release of Menon and was waiting for the government or the Naxals to approach him. He also demanded that the state should use as little force as possible to resolve the situation.

Meanwhile, in a fresh appeal, Menon`s wife Asha said the Naxals should release her husband saying that they were married only a few months ago and he had always worked for the people. She said that Menon had some health problems and was not carrying adequate medicines when he was abducted. "He is an asthmatic patient and I request the government and the Naxals to understand that he is just left with two doses of medication," she said, adding that he would not be able to cope up with in case of an emergency.

Asha said she was keeping in touch with senior officials at the state and central levels and had talked to Union minister Jairam Ramesh and former Malkangiri collector Vinil Krishna, who had been abducted by Maoists a few months back in Odisha. Krishna asked her not to lose courage, she said.

Appealing for his release, she said Menon has done a lot for the new district`s development. "I would just request them (Naxals) to free him as soon as possible," she added. Meanwhile, the two security guards who were shot dead by the Naxals before Menon`s abduction were accorded a guard of honour at Sukma district headquarters today.

According to officials who were present at Gram Suraj Abhiyan programme at Majhipara village where Menon was abducted yesterday, some 50-odd ultras, including women, had come to the venue and taken away Menon after shooting two of his guards dead.

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