CHENNAI: The inordinate delay in securing the release of Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon, who is being held captive by Maoists in Chhattisgarh since April 21, has taken a heavy toll on his wife Asha Alex’s health. The Chennai woman has been sapped as she has been spending sleepless nights and eating next to nothing since the fateful day when her husband was whisked away by Maoists from Majhipura village in Sukma, according to one of her schoolmates in Chennai.
When the friend, who was two years junior to Asha in Vellammal Matriculation School, called her on Wednesday, she was at the Collector’s house in Sukma but could not talk for long. “She is now under medication for low blood pressure,” the friend said with concern and added that doctors had advised her not to strain much.
However, Asha sounded bold and was confident that Menon will be released on Thursday afternoon. But she was not sure if her husband would come home from Tadmetla in Dantewada district, where he is expected to be handed over to government interlocutors, or be taken to hospital from there.
Asha’s mother, Anandhi Venugopal, who is now with her daughter, is also unwell. She is down with jaundice, the friend said. Asha’s father, T R Venugopal, a retired Chief Engineer of LIC, who is staying back in Chennai, is also not doing well. Apart from the mother, Asha has only her brother by her side at this hour of distress.
The family is not getting much information relating to Menon’s condition from the government. The only assurance the government has given is that Menon would definitely be released on Thursday. As per information received by the family, the Collector is being held in Dandakaranya forest now.