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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Maoists give in to public opinion, release collector

Ejaz Kaiser & Aloke Tikku, Hindustan Times  Dantewada / New Delhi, May 03, 2012
First Published: 15:33 IST(3/5/2012) | Last Updated: 02:06 IST(4/5/2012)

After 12 days in Maoist captivity, Sukma collector Alex Paul Menon emerged from the forests around sunset on Thursday — accompanied by Maoist interlocutors BD Sharma and G Hargopal.

Earlier, just a few days into Menon’s abduction, intelligence agencies had assured the government that things were not exactly following the abductors’ script. Adverse public opinion had forced even Maoist sympathisers to condemn the act.

The interlocutors urged the Maoists to close the chapter that began with the demand for freeing 17 Maoists and ended without a single release. Odisha, in contrast, had agreed to release 25 for BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka and already ensured six releases.

In Chhattisgarh, the rebels put up a show of resistance, delaying Menon’s release by a day. They claimed they were “unsure about the fate” of eight jailed rebels. But chief minister Raman Singh said, “As promised, we have constituted a high-power committee to look into the undertrial prisoners.”

Menon refused to divulge details about his captors or his captivity. He said, “I am tired and shattered. I want to go home.” The 32-year-old IAS officer was equally evasive when asked if he would continue in Sukma. “I will work wherever the government sends me.”

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