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'Govt should release Maoists immediately to free Alex'

Last updated on: April 23, 2012 16:44 IST

'Govt should release Maoists immediately to free Alex'

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A Ganesh Nadar in Tirunelveli

A Ganesh Nadar visits Tirunelveli where there is unrest following Saturday's Maoist abduction of Alex Paul Menon, the collector of Sukma district in Chhattisgarh, who belongs to this district.

Many citizens and political groups met Tiruelveli Collector R Selvaraj on Monday and asked him to send their pleas to the central government, appealing for Alex Paul Menon's immediate release.

The Maoists on Sunday demanded release of eight of their jailed leaders in Chattisgarh and a halt to "Operation Green Hunt" in exchange for freedom of the 32-year-old 2006-batch IAS officer.

"Maoists are not as important as a district collectctor so the Chhattisgarh government should release their men and get my son back immediately," Alex Paul's father Vardhaas told rediff.com over the phone from Chennai.

However, Vardhaas had a word of caution for the media, which is relentlessly painting his son as a good man and as a 'friend of the poor'.

"The Maoists consider the government authorities as evil. By writing good things about my son, the media might endanger his life as they might treat him like an enemy," he added.

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Image: Residents of Tirunelveli gather at the collectorate office with posters of Alex Paul Thomas urging for his early release from Maoist captivation in Chhattisgarh
Photographs: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com

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'Alex is a humble fellow, extremely committed to his job'

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"My son has asthma since childhood, but he always carries his medicines with him," he said.

Vardhaas said that he was scheduled to meet Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa later in the day, where he will urge her to appeal to the central government to do whatever is required to get his son back safely.

Alex Paul's house at Ram Nagar in Palyamcottai in Tirunelveli district was locked when approached by rediff.com. The neighbour said, "His (Alex Paul's) aunt lives here. She has gone to the collectorate office petitioning him to contact the central government."

The neighbour, who has known Alex Paul for a year, said that "he is a humble fellow, who always talks about his work very seriously."

"I hope the Maoists release him soon," he added.


Image: File image of abducted Sukma Collector Alex Paul John
Photographs: Courtesy: Facebook

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Tirunelveli upset over Alex's abduction

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At the Tirunelveli collectorate office there was a huge crowd carrying Alex Paul's picture and shouting slogans demanding his release.

The Manitha Neyar Katchi had come there with one of his aunts; so has the Dalit Panthers, who had come to the office with another of his aunts. The Kamaraj Shivaji Iyakam was also seen there with an uncle of his.

All three groups lobbied hard to get the maximum television attention. It was a matter of shame as they pushed each other out of the way. The cops intervened and finally four persons were allowed to get in with the relatives.

So the three groups met the collector separately and gave him similar petitions. We were told that a bus load of relatives were also coming from his native village Samathanapuram near Nanguneri, about 30 kms from Tirunelveli.


Image: Relatives of Alex Paul Thomas seen at the Tirunelveli collectorate office
Photographs: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com

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'We will take all steps to get Alex back safely'

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Tirunelveli Mayor Vigila Satyanantha was also at the collectorate office to console Alex Paul's releatives. She told a grieving aunt that she will call 'Amma' (Jayalalithaa) later in the day and urge her to speak to her Chhattisgarh counterpart Raman Singh to appeal for his early release.

"We will take all steps to get your nephew back safely. We are with you always," she also told. 

Alex Paul's relatives broke down frequently as they tried to answer questions from the media.

Alex Paul studied at the Rose Mary matriculation school in Tirunelveli, where a prayer meeting was organised for his release.

 


Image: Tirunelveli mayor and collector speaking consoling the relatives of Alex Paul Menon
Photographs: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com

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