NEW DELHI: As the hostage crisis involving Sukma Distr­ict Collector Alex Paul Menon entered day five on Wednesd­ay, talks are moving at snail’s pace in Chhattisgarh. There was confirmation, however, that the medicines have been delivered to the ailing Collector, while sources said the Maoists have extended their deadline to April 27.
Government-nominated interlocutors, former bureaucrats Suyogya K Mishra and Nirmala Buch, are holding discussions with the high-level Cabinet subcommittee to decide on the government’s strategy for negotiations expe­cted to begin on Thursday.
Chhattisgarh Home Secretary N K Aswal told Express that medicines for the collector have been delivered by All India Adivasi Mahasabha president Manish Kunjam, who had undertaken the task on Tuesday. “We could not contact Kunjam, he is probably on his way back to Sukma but we have information that the medicine was delivered and the Collector is safe,” Aswal said.
State government sources said some local journalists went along to Tarmetla jung­le on Wednesday to hand over the medicines to a group of armed ultras. “They were not allow­ed to reach the interiors and a request to videograph Menon was declined. We have also got some information that the deadline of April 25 has been extended till April 27,” they added.