Maoists kidnap district collector in Chhattisgarh

A day after the collector of Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district escaped a landmine blast that killed three people in his convoy, Maoists abducted the collector of neighbouring Sukma district.

Alex Paul Menon, 32, an IAS officer of the 2006 batch, was taken away from a meeting of villagers and officials in Manjipara village of Keralapal panchayat, 18 km from Sukma district headquarters this evening. The Maoists killed both the security guards accompanying the officer.

Both Menon and Bijapur collector Rajat Kumar had gone to villages deep in the forest as part of the government’s ongoing Gram Suraj Abhiyan, a weeklong programme of reaching out to people in remote areas to address their problems. Sukma, carved out of Dantewada in January, is in the southernmost portion of Bastar, a stronghold of the Maoists.

Around 4.30 pm, 15-odd Maoists stormed Menon’s meeting with about 150 villagers and 40 government officials. “We were sitting under a tamarind tree when the Maoists suddenly appeared and opened fire. They were probably sitting among the villagers,” Sukma SDM S P Vaidya, who was present, told The Sunday Express.

“They slit the throat of guard Amjad Khan and shot the other guard Kishan Kujur. They kept firing in the air. Menon Sir, me and a few others managed to reach our vehicles, but the Maoists came after us. They demanded to know, ‘Collector kaun hai?’ and took Sir away,” Vaidya said.

Khan and Kujur were the only two security guards accompanying the officials. They could put up no resistance. The government was in possession of intelligence that Menon might be a Maoist target. There is a CRPF camp barely 4 km from the village where Menon was abducted.from
THE INDIAN EXPRESS

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