New Delhi - B. D. Sharma, one of the Maoist-nominated mediators for negotiations with the government, on Tuesday stressed on the need to have a dialogue to resolve the ongoing conflict following the abduction of Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon.
"The proposal forwarded by them is natural. If there is a disagreement, then they have to talk about it. Therefore, it's natural. I do not have any information about others. Yesterday I came to know at 12 in the night that my name has been short-listed. If there is a conflict, someone has to come forward to negotiate," he said.
Sharma, the former National SC/ST Commission chairperson, further said that he would perform the role of a mediator and fulfill his duty towards being a responsible citizen of the country.
"I just want to say that the government should accept that there should be a dialogue. I will perform the role of a mediator as far as I can. I will only mediate and will not talk on behalf of the government or the Maoists," he said.
The Maoists have also nominated the names of Team Anna member and Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan and All India Adivasi Mahasabha President Manish Kunjam.
Both Bhushan and Kunjam have, however, refused to mediate in the matter.
The Chhattisgarh Government earlier today named two former bureaucrats for holding talks with Maoists to secure the release of abducted Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon.
The two mediators- SK Mishra and N Buch- have served as chief secretaries of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, respectively.
The Naxals have demanded the release of eight colleagues: Markam Gopanna alias Satyam Reddy, Nirmal Akka alias Vijay Laxmi, Devpal Chandrashekhar Reddy, Shantipriya Reddy, Meena Choudhari, Korsa Sunny, Markam Sunny and Asit Kumar Sen.
The ultras also want anti-Naxal Operation Green Hunt to be cancelled, security forces to be withdrawn from the region and persons against whom they allege "fake cases" have been registered, released from the jails.
In an audacious operation, Maoist rebels on Saturday abducted Menon, an IAS officer of 2006 batch, from the middle of a meeting with villagers from Majhipara village in Keralapal area of the Naxal-infected district.
The Sukma district collector's kidnapping comes even as uncertainty continues over the fate of ruling BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka in neighbouring Odisha who was abducted by the Maoists about a month ago.
Menon is the first collector of the newly-created Sukma district and was known to be pro-active in undertaking development work in the backward region.