Bastar tribal leader and former CPI MLA, Manish Kunjam who was spotted barely fifteen km from Sukma district headquarter, south Chhattisgarh today informed that the abducted collector Alex Paul Menon (32) is safe and in good condition.
“I handed over the medicines”, said Kunjam, appearing relaxed and contended with the job he accomplished, while on his way to Sukma.
He however refused to divulge any details about his meeting with the Maoists or the collector. “I didn’t go there as mediator. I did what was expected from me”, he said. Earlier in the day he had communicated his message to Asha Menon, wife of the abducted collector though the Sukma sub-divisional magistrate.
Kunjam, who had earlier refused to negotiate on behalf of Maoists, said he was not carrying any message or letter from inside the jungle, perhaps avoided to share anything more with the media before he meet the collector’s wife.
To a query on why he failed to return on Wednesday evening, the president of Rashtriya Adivasi Mahasabha, Kunjam said: “I had visited the interior villages after several years. All my relatives and acquaintances in the area came to know about it. So I got late meeting them all”, he elucidated.
Meanwhile, one of the Maoists interlocutors BD Sharma reached Raipur on Thursday. “I am not aware where the negotiations will take place”, he told media persons on his arrival at the airport. Another mediator Prof G Hargopal is expected to arrive in the state capital from Hyderabad in the afternoon. The talks with the state government deputed negotiators are likely to begin on Thursday.