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Maoists set May 2 deadline for release of 8 jailed rebels

April 30, 2012 21:11 IST

The Maoists on Monday set a fresh deadline of May 2 for the Chhatisgarh government to release eight of their jailed associates in exchange for the freedom of Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon in their captivity since the last 10 days.

If the demand was not met, the 32-year-old IAS officer's fate would be decided by a 'Jan Adalat', they said.

In a message sent to the local media, the Maoists said they would release Menon if the government sends eight of the jailed workers along with their mediators B D Sharma and Prof Hargopal on May 2 to the remote Tadmetla village.

The faxed message, signed by Ganesh Uike, secretary South Regional Committee of CPI (Maoist), also said the Collector is in the custody of People's Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) and is being treated as a "prisoner of war". Menon was abducted on April 21.

The latest communication also demanded that the government should revoke "false cases" filed against the innocent villagers.

The Maoists also alleged that the government wasn't serious in its talks to secure Menon's release and that it was dilly-dallying in the matter.

Earlier, the Maoists had demanded release of 17 of their jailed leaders and set a April 25 deadline. A Maoist mediator had said this deadline stands automatically extended but the fresh May 2 deadline is expect to put more pressure on the government to end the hostage crisis.

Earlier in the day, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said there was some progress in the talks with the Maoists and he was hoping for an early resolution with both the sides finding "agreement" on certain points.

Government mediators Nirmala Buch and S K Mishra are holding talks with B D Sharma and Hargopal, who are representing the ultras.

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