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As negotiations between Maoist- handpicked mediators and those of the Chhattisgarh government resumed on Friday, the Naxal rebels made fresh demands for the release of nine of their jailed leaders in exchange for abducted Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon.
Chief Minister Raman Singh’s Principal Secretary N. Brijendra Kumar told PTI the state government has received a fax from Naxals, demanding the release of a total of 17 Maoists.
Earlier, they had demanded release of eight of their comrades including two women besides asking the government to halt the anti-Maoist offensive “Operation Green Hunt” and sending security forces in Bastar to barracks.
The government’s side is being represented by former chief secretaries of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh — Nirmala Buch and S.K. Mishra respectively — while the Maoists’ nominees are former National SC/ST Commission Chairperson B.D. Sharma and Prof. G. Hargopal.
On Thursday, both sides had described the exercise as “positive.”
The Naxals abducted Menon from Majhipara village when he was attending the government’s special outreach program on April 21.