As the hostage crisis involving abducted Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon entered the eighth day on Saturday, mediators from the rebel side left for Tadmetla forests apparently to brief Maoists on talks they had with the Chhattisgarh government on their demands for releasing the IAS officer.
N Baijendra Kumar, principal secretary to Chief Minister Raman Singh, told PTI that the mediators, who have held two rounds of talks with the government-appointed interlocutors to resolve the crisis, expressed their desire to visit Tarmetla, a Naxal stronghold, in Sukma district.
Accordingly, the government made necessary arrangements for their visit and assured them of adequate security, he said.
Additional Director General of Police (anti-Maoist operation) Ramnivas said B D Sharma and Professor G Hargopal, who were holding talks on behalf of the Maoists, have reached
Chintanlar by a helicopter.
He said from there, they will leave for Tadmetla, a dense forested area which can be reached only on two-wheelers.
Nearly three days ago, Communist Party of India leader Manish Kunjam had gone to Tadmetla on a motorcycle to hand over medicines for Menon, who was kidnapped by Maoists on April 21.
Earlier, talking to reporters, Sharma, a former IAS officer, said he may return to Raipur by the evening. He expressed confidence that the crisis will be resolved soon.
Sharma and Hargopal have held two rounds of talks with government interlocutors Nirmala Buch and S K Mishra, but no breakthrough has been achieved yet.
In exchange for the 2006 IAS officer, Maoists have demanded the release of 17 of their jailed leaders, halt to the anti-Maoist offensive Operation Green Hunt and sending security forces in Bastar to barracks.
The chief minister said on Friday that the demands of Maoists would be considered only "within the legal framework".