The Chhattisgarh police in Raipur 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.
Swami Agnivesh on Sunday told a news agency that he was ready to mediate for the release of Menon and was waiting for the government or the Naxals to approach him.
The state police has sounded high alert across the Bastar zone and sought cooperation from the neighbouring districts of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. There is still no progress to know the whereabouts of the 2006-batch IAS officer kidnapped by the guerillas.
On Sunday afternoon, the state police claimed to have got some important clues in the abduction case of Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon by Naxals who are yet to make any contact with the authorities.
Additional Director General of Police (anti-Naxal operations) Ram Nivas said that the police has got some important clues but refused to elaborate due to security reasons.
He said the police has quizzed the officials who had taken part in Gram Suraj Abhiyan program at Majhipara village, during which 32-year-old Menon was abducted on Saturday.
According to Ram Nivas, police suspect this to be the operation of 'Military' dalam of the Naxals, and most of those took part in the operation were from Chhattisgarh.
Naxals had not made any demand in return for the release of the Collector so far, Ram Nivas said.
He also said that 32-year-old Menon suffered from asthma, and was not carrying his medicines when he was abducted.
“When the Odisha state is remaining clueless about their own abducted MLA after so many days, how can one expect to trace the position of the abducted officer a day after. Our efforts are on to ensure safe and early release of the officer and we have made some headway in tracking the likely pathway followed by the naxalites,” a senior police officer in the state PHQ told HT and added the intensive searching continues.
Meanwhile, chief minister Raman Singh said that state would try its best to rescue Menon.
Asha Menon, the abducted officer's wife, has appealed to Naxals to release her husband on humanitarian grounds, saying he was sick, and does not have necessary medicines with him.
A special police team has been constituted for rescue efforts.
Menon's family said the officer was aware of the threat of possible kidnap of officials in the region but that never deterred him from responding to the call of duty.
"We heard that there were warnings about possible kidnap of senior officials in that region. He was advised not to go out without security. He was very careful. But he had to attend to his duties," Menon's father-in-law Venugopal said.
The Chhattisgarh IAS officers Association meanwhile will hold an emergency meeting on Sunday to take stock of the emerging challenge.
“We cannot sit keeping fingers crossed,” he said and added that the IAS officer apparently invited greater risk moving out in interior areas of red zone with not enough security measures.
According to the unconfirmed reports the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is likely to be pressed into service in the suspected forested areas to trace the possible movement or location of the Maoists and the collector.
The police, however, ruled out saying that any such move might thwart the attempts to secure release of the officer.
The Sukma district is observing a bandh on Sunday against the kidnapping of Menon.