Raipur, Apr 24 (IBNS): The Chhattisgarh government on Tuesday named ex-Chief Secretaries of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Nirmala Buch and Suyogya Kumar Mishra, as nominees to hold talks with Maoists to release abducted Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon.
The mediators said their 'top priority' would be to ensure the 'safe' release of Menon.
"Our top priority will be to ensure Menon's safe release," Buch told media.
The Chhattisgarh government on Tuesday sent medicines for Menon after the rebels informed his condition is critical and demanded medical help for him.
According to sources, the government sent the medicines through All India Adivasi Mahasabha president Manish Kunjam.
Kunjam was earlier named by the Maoists as one of the mediators in connection to the matter.
He declined the offer to negotiate but agreed to take medicines to Menon.
The rebels issued a statement early Tuesday naming three mediators who will bring the medicines to them.
The Maoists named Prashant Bhushan, ex-chairman of National SC/ST Commission B D Sharma and Kunjam and said the medicines should be sent only through them.
Bhushan on Tuesday refused to negotiate on their behalf and urged the rebels to 'unconditionally' release Menon.
The Chhattisgarh government on Monday halted anti-Maoists operations in south Bastar region of the state after the rebels demanded cancellation of Operation Green Hunt against the release of Menon.
Chhattisgarh Maoists also demanded the release of eight jailed rebels in exchange of Menon.
The Maoists set April 25 as deadline for the Chhattisgarh government to meet their demands.
Menon was abducted by the rebels on Saturday at around 4-4:30 pm in a remote village where the bureaucrat was attending a state government-run programme to promote greater coordination and connect between the villagers and administration.
Menon, 32, is a 2006 batch officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the first collector of Sukma after it was carved out of Dantewada as a new district.