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'Sukma collector to be released tomorrow'

india Updated: May 02, 2012 22:14 IST

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The mediators representing Maoists today said abducted Sukma collector Alex Paul Menon would be released tomorrow after nearly two weeks of captivity.

B D Sharma and Professor G Hargopal, who represented the Maoists in the talks with the Chhattisgarh Government for the 32-year-old IAS officer's release, told PTI here that they would leave for Tadmetla tomorrow morning to receive Menon, who was abducted on April 21 while touring a village.

Sharma, a former bureaucrat, said he had got a message that Maoists would release Menon at Tadmetla, a rebel-dominated forested area in Sukma district, on May 3.

Sharma also said the state government would have to understand certain issues (in the wake of abduction). One of the questions was ownership of minerals and other resources of Bastar region, claimed by both the state as well as the local tribals, he said.

The "so-called" development was displacing the tribals and aggravating the Naxal problem, said Sharma, a former Bastar collector.

Hargopal, a Hyderabad-based academician - said after Menon's release, the state must keep its part of the agreement signed by mediators from both sides yesterday.

Under the pact, Government has agreed to set up a committee headed by Nirmala Buch, one of the two Government mediators, to review the cases of all prisoners languishing in Chhattisgarh jails, including those demanded by the Maoists.

Hargopal said he hoped the government would act on its assurances within one hour of Menon's release. The Maoists had said in a message yesterday that they would hand over the 2006 batch IAS officer to mediators on Thursday.