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Chhattisgarh

President dedicates new integrated terminal of Swami Vivekananda Airport at Raipur

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President Pranab Mukherjee today dedicated to the nation the new integrated terminal building of Swami Vivekananda Airport at Raipur in Chhattisgarh.

Speaking on the occasion, he hoped the new terminal would not only support growth and prosperity of Chhattisgarh but also of the whole country as a whole.
 
He said that it is of critical importance that airports are built across India that conform to international standards and are safe, efficient, comfortable as well as convenient to passengers. 
 
He also said that airports serve as gateways to the country and are economic magnets which help further development and growth of the region where they are located. 
 
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President to visit Chhattisgarh on November 6-7

President Pranab Mukherjee will pay a two-day visit to Chhattisgarh from tomorrow, during which he will inaugurate the new Mantralaya complex of the state government at Raipur.

Mr Mukherjee will also participate in the closing ceremony of the Rajyotsav Celebrations of Government of Chhattisgarh on November 6.
 
The Governor of Chhattisgarh, Mr Shekhar Dutt, will host a state banquet for the President on the same day.
 
On November 7, Mr Mukherjee will visit Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama at Narayanpur where he will lay the foundation stones of two 500-seat hostels of the Tribal Welfare Department and an Industrial Training Institute building of Ramakrishna Mission Ashram. 
 
He will also inaugurate the new Integrated Terminal Building at Swami Vivekananda Airport, Raipur. 
 
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CRPF rescue two minor girls raped by Naxals in Chhattisgarh

Two minor girls, allegedly abducted and raped by suspected Naxalites, were rescued by security forces from the forests in Madded area of Bijapur district in Chhattisgarh today.

The girls, said to be around 11-12 years of age, were rescued by a joint squad of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and state police while they were out on patrol in the area.
 
According to police sources, the girls identified a Naxalite and his two accomplices who had raped them. They also said this practice was going for long.
 
The police said an ossification test was being done on the girls to confirm their age.
 
"Naxals come to their village and forcibly take them away. The Naxals force them to work in the bal-sangham and sexually exploit them. Naxals also threaten their parents of dire consequences when they object. The girls do not want to return to their village. Instead, they said they want to stay in balak ashrams and study. They had never been to school," the sources said.
 
According to them, the police have brought the girls to Bijapur and registered a case in the matter. They said medical examination by a lady doctor confirmed the girls were sexually exploited.
 
"Both the girls said there are many other girls who are being sexually exploited by Naxals. Their parents are threatened when they oppose. Naxals had forbidden girls from going to schools in villages," they said.
 
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Former RSS chief K Sudarshan passes away in Raipur

K S Sudarshan
K S Sudarshan

Former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief K Sudarshan passed away early this morning in Raipur after suffering a massive cardiac arrest.

He was 81. He is survived by a brother.
 
The funeral will be held at 3 pm tomorrow  at Nagpur, where the headquarters of the RSS is located.
 
RSS sources said Mr Sudarshan had gone for a morning walk as usual today and was doing his usual course of Yogasana and Pranayama exercises, after returning, when he suffered the heart attack. He was bee ailing for some time, the sources said.
 
Born on June 18, 1931 at Raipur, Mr Sudarshan had started working as a "pracharak" (full-time worker) of the RSS in 1954. He became the Sarsanghachalak, or head of the organization, in 2000.
 
In 2009, he stepped aside because of receding health and advancing age and handed over responsibility to Mr Mohan Bhagwat, who is now the RSS chief.
 
Last month, he gave his friends and relatives some anxious moments when he went missing for some hours after losing his way during a morning walk in Mysore. He was later found taking rest under a tree after getting exhausted while on the walk.
 
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Achanakmar-Amarkantak added to World Network of Biosphere Reserves

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The Achanakmar-Amarkantak area in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh is among 20 new sites added to the World Network Biosphere Reserves by the  International Coordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) at a meeting in Paris yesterday.

The network now includes 598 reserves in 117 countries. Biosphere Reserves were inscribed in Haiti, Kazakhstan, and Sao Tome and Principe for the first time this year, a press release from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said.
 
Biosphere Reserves are areas designated under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme to serve as places to test different approaches to integrated management of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine resources and biodiversity. Biosphere Reserves are thus sites for experimenting with and learning about sustainable development, the release said.

PM meets engineering students from Naxal-affected areas of Chhattisgarh

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with engineering students from Naxal-affected areas of Chhattisgarh, in New Delhi on July 3, 2012.

Prime Minister  Manmohan Singh with engineering students from Naxal-affected areas of Chhattisgarh, in New Delhi on July 3, 2012. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh is also seen.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with engineering students from Naxal-affected areas of Chhattisgarh, in New Delhi on July 3, 2012. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh is also seen.

18 Naxalites killed, 6 CRPF men injured in encounter in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh

At least 18 Naxalites were killed and six men of the Central Reserve Police Force injured during a fierce encounter in the forests of Silger in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh on Thursday night.

Security forces kill 18 Naxalites killed in encounter in Chhattisgarh

At least 18 Naxalites were killed and six men of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) injured during a fierce encounter in the forests of Silger in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh last night.

A spokesman for the CRPF said the joint operation, involving personnel of the Chhattisgarh Police and the CRPF, was still continuing on the Bijapur-Dantewada axis.
 
He said forces were inducted from Jagargunda and Chintalnar in Dantewada district and Basaguda in Bijapur district to raid a major Naxalite stronghold at Silger, an area where security forces had never gone before.
 
The CRPF forces were led by a Deputy Inspector General and two Commandants of CoBRA, while the State Police was led by the Assistant Superintendent of Police, Sukma.
 
According to the spokesman, the Naxalites were taken by surprise near a village about three km from Basaguda and started heavy firing on the CRPF troops. The encounter, which started around midnight, was followed by heavy gunfire from the Naxalites' side.
 
"The CRPF and State Police forces retaliated and tried to counter the Naxal attack in a tactical manner," he said.
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In the initial burst of fire by the Naxalites, six CRPF personnel suffered series bullet injuries and two of them were said to be in a very critical condition. They have been evacuated by helicopter to Raipur, the state capital.
 
Two injured Naxalites who were apprehended from the spot were also evacuated by the same
helicopter to Raipur for medical treatment.
 
After the exchange of fire, which continued for a long time, searches were conducted, during which 16 bodies were recovered from the location, including those of a woman and two prominent Naxalites of the area, the spokesman added.
 
This is the first time that the CRPF has recovered so many bodies of Naxalites after an encounter.
 
It was near this area, close to Chintalnar, where Naxalites had carried out the biggest ever attack on security forces when they killed 75 CRPF men and a state police jawan in April 2010.
 
The spokesman said the deceased Naxalites included Nagesh, resident of Kotaguda and Somulu, resident of Korsaguda.
 
He said that some other forces, who had moved into the same area from another axis,  Chintalnar, were also ambushed by the naxals in the early hours of today. They, however, countered this ambush very effectively, he said.
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A fierce gun battle ensued. Detailed searches this morning revealed the bodies of two prominent Naxals of that area, Sodhi Gurla and Malkan Lachha. Factory made weapons, live rounds and improved explosive devices (IEDs) were also recovered from their possession.
 
Searches are continuing on the two different axis by the forces in a tactical manner, the spokesman added.
 
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16 Naxalites killed, 6 CRPF men injured in encounter in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh

At least 16 Naxalites were killed and six men of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) injured during a fierce encounter in the forests of Silger in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh Thursday night, official sources said.

Map of Bijapur district
Map of Bijapur district

At least 16 Naxalites were killed and six men of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) injured during a fierce encounter in the forests of Silger in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh last night, official sources said.

A spokesman for the CRPF said the joint operation, involving personnel of the Chhattisgarh Police and the CRPF, was still continuing on the Bijapur-Dantewada axis.
 
He said forces were inducted from Jagargunda and Chintalnar in Dantewada district and Basaguda in Bijapur district to raid a major Naxalite stronghold at Silger, an area where security forces had never gone before.
 
The CRPF forces were led by a Deputy Inspector General and two Commandants of CoBRA, while the State Police was led by the Assistant Superintendent of Police, Sukma.
 
According to the spokesman, the Naxalites were taken by surprise near a village about three km from Basaguda and started heavy firing on the CRPF troops. The encounter, which started around midnight, was followed by heavy gunfire from the Naxalites' side.
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"The CRPF and State Police forces retaliated and tried to counter the Naxal attack in a tactical manner," he said.
 
In the initial burst of fire by the Naxalites, six CRPF personnel suffered series bullet injuries and two of them were said to be in a very critical condition. They have been evacuated by helicopter to Raipur, the state capital.
 
Two injured Naxalites who were apprehended from the spot were also evacuated by the same
helicopter to Raipur for medical treatment.
 
After the exchange of fire, which continued for a long time, searches were conducted, during which 16 bodies were recovered from the location, including those of a woman and two prominent Naxalites of the area, the spokesman added.
 
This is the first time that the CRPF has recovered so many bodies of Naxalites after an encounter.
 
It was near this area, close to Chintalnar, where Naxalites had carried out the biggest ever attack on security forces when they killed 75 CRPF men and a state police jawan in April 2010.
 
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Chhattisgarh's annual plan for 2012-13 finalized at Rs 23,480 crore

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The annual plan for Chhattisgarh for 2012-13 was finalized at Rs 23,480 crore at a meeting between Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh here yesterday.

In his comments at the meeting on the plan performance of the State, Mr Ahluwalia said that Chhattisgarh had been following the right policy of inclusive development with focus on private participation in infrastructure development. 
 
He said this focus on inclusive growth should continue during the 12th Plan for achieving social targets. 
 
Mr Ahluwalia said States should bring to the notice of the Planning Commission obstacles in the way of implementation of flagship programmes of the Central Government. This, he said, would help it to make necessary corrections while formulating 12th Plan. 
 
He said energy, water and land were emerging as major constraints and there was need for greater attention to these sectors in the 12th Plan. He said the State needed to adopt a policy which would promote careful consumption in these areas.
 
While appreciating the State Government’s effort in improving human development index, it was pointed out that health indicators have shown substantial improvement but the recent deterioration in the child sex ratio is a matter of concern. Attention was also drawn to growing number of out of school children, large number of vacancies of teachers in schools and also large number of untrained teachers. It was also pointed out that nearly 70 per cent of private schools do not have separate toilets for girls. 
 
The Commission appreciated the State Government's efforts for the creation of appropriate industrial infrastructure by way of setting up of special economic zones and development of cluster based industrial units. It was pointed out that the Khadi Board was generating employment opportunities in rural areas and strengthening rural economy. Industrial investment should be encouraged in the mineral sector as the State has rich mineral endowment. Public private partnership in development of industrial infrastructure needs to be encouraged. It was suggested that State may introduce tele-medicine concept for improving quality of health services in small hospitals. 
 
Dr Singh said that, during the 12th Plan, the state would follow a policy of faster and more inclusive growth with 10 per cent growth target. Higher investments would be made in agriculture to improve productivity and income. Social sector spending would be further enhanced to reduce disparity inhuman development indicators and achieve millennium development goals, he said.
 
He said that, to ensure growth, the policy thrust would be on efficient and judicious use of natural resources; promotion of biodiversity conservation and use of renewable energy sources. Focus would also be on improving service delivery, particularly in social sector schemes. For this purpose, outcome-based monitoring and evaluation mechanism would introduced, he said.
 
The Chief Minister said that food grain allocation under PDS should be based on Tendulkar Committee report and not on the basis of poverty estimates of 1993-94. On education sector he said the State was spending more than the national average on education and wanted that the funding pattern of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) should be revised to 75:25 and 90:10 for IAP districts. He also requested that un-aided schools in Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) areas should be covered under mid- day meal scheme. He called for recognition of three year medical diploma course to make up for the shortage of doctors in rural areas. 
 
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CBI arrests three AICTE officials, three others in bribery case

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today said it had arrested three experts of theAll India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) for allegedly accepting a bribeand three persons representing educational institutions in Chhattisgarh for allegedly giving the bribe.

On the basis of a complaint, the CBI had registered a case in which it was alleged that an expert committee of the Central Region of AICTE, Bhopal were camping at a hotel in Durg, Chhattisgarh for conducting annual inspection of private technical education institutions in the state.
 
According to the CBI, the AICTE officials entered into a criminal conspiracy with the owners/ representatives of the educational institutions and had allegedly received or were to receive illegal gratification from such private persons for giving favourable reports.
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Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon reaches home day after being freed by Maoists

Alex Paul Menon, the Collector and District Magistrate of Sukma in Chhattisgarh, who was freed by Maoists on Thursday afternoon after being held for 12 days in captivity, reached home on Friday morning.

Alex Paul Menon
Alex Paul Menon

Alex Paul Menon, the Collector and District Magistrate of Sukma in Chhattisgarh, who was freed by Maoists yesterday after being held for 12 days in captivity, reached home this morning.

The 32-year-old Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 2006 batch was released yesterday afternoon after mediators appointed by the Maoists and the state government had reached an agreement a few days ago.
 
Mr Menon was handed over by the Maoists to the two mediators nominated by them - Mr B D Sharma and Prof G Hargopal - at Tarmetla. The mediators then brought him to Chintalnar, where he spent the night at a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp.
 
Scores of people from Sukma were present to greet him when the convoy of cars with Mr Menon reached his home. His mother-in-law did a traditional "aarti" before he stepped into his house.
 
In their initial demands, the Maoists had sought freedom for 17 of their colleagues in jail in exchange for the release of Menon. They also wanted an end to "Operation Greenhunt" launched by the security forces against them and the withdrawal of Central para-military forces from the state.
 
But sources said the agreement between the mediators did not mention the release of jailed Maoists. They said the state government had agreed to set up a high-powered committee to review the cases involving Maoists.
 
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The committee, which will include the state Chief Secretary and Director General of Police as members and be headed by former Madhya Pradesh Chief Secretary Nirmala Buch, who was one of the government mediators, will become operational "within an hour" after the release of Menon, the sources said.
 
The agreement was approved by a Cabinet sub-committee headed by the Chief Minister.
 
Menon, the first Collector and District Magistrate of the newly-formed district, was taken hostage on April 21 by a group of armed Maoists while he was attending a "Gram Swaraj Abhiyan" -- a state government programme -- in a village. Two of his security guards were shot dead by the Maoists in the incident.
 
Gram Swaraj is a programme aimed at ensuring better coordination between people in the villages and the administration.
 
Menon is the second IAS officer to be kidnapped by the Maoists in recent times. In February last year, the left-wing extremists had abducted the Collector and District Magistrate of Malkangiri in neighbouring Odisha, R Vineel Krishna and held him hostage for eight days before freeing him after the state government agreed to several conditions laid down by them.
 
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Maoists release Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon after holding him hostage for 12 days

Alex Paul Menon, the Collector and District Magistrate of Sukma in Chhattisgarh who was abducted by a group of armed Maoists on April 21, was released on Thursday after 12 days in captivity.

Alex Paul Menon
Alex Paul Menon

Alex Paul Menon, the Collector and District Magistrate of Sukma in Chhattisgarh who was abducted by Maoists on April 21, was released today after 12 days in captivity.

The 32-year-old Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 2006 batch, was handed over by the rebels to the two mediators nominated by them -- B D Sharma and G Hargopal -- at Tarmetla.
 
They then brought him to Chintalnar, where he was mobbed by a huge crowd of mediapersons. "I am okay, I will speak after a day," he told them. "I am feeling relieved," he said in response to another question.
 
Menon thanked the mediators from both sides, the Chhattisgarh government, Chief Minister Raman Singh, the Chief Secretary, his seniors in the administration, his friends and family and others for the efforts made by them to get him released safely.
 
"I am tired and shattered...I want to meet my family at the earliest," he said later at the CRPF camp nearby.
 
Earlier, this morning, a Chhattisgarh government helicopter, carrying Mr Sharma and Mr  Hargopal, left state capital Raipur for Chintalnar, from where they travelled by a vehicle to Tarmetla, where the Maoists had agreed to release Mr Menon.
 
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Mr Sharma is a former Collector of the undivided Bastar district and an expert on tribal issues while Prof G Hargopal is a Hyderabad-based academician.
 
On April 30, Mr Sharma and Mr Hargopal and the mediators named by the state government -- former Chief Secretaries Nirmala Buch of Madhya Pradesh and S K MIshra of Chhattisgarh -- had reached an agreement on the release of Mr Menon.
 
In their initial demands, the Maoists had sought freedom for 17 of their colleagues in jail in exchange for the release of Menon. They also wanted an end to "Operation Greenhunt" launched by the security forces against them and the withdrawal of Central para-military forces from the state.
 
But sources said the agreement between the mediators did not mention the release of jailed Maoists. They said the state government had agreed to set up a high-powered committee to review the cases involving Maoists.
 
The committee, which will include the state Chief Secretary and Director General of Police as members and be headed by Ms Buch, will become operational "within an hour" after the release of Menon, the sources said.
 
The agreement was approved by a Cabinet sub-committee headed by the Chief Minister.
 
Menon, the first Collector and District Magistrate of the newly-formed district, was taken hostage by a group of armed Maoists while he was attending a "Gram Swaraj Abhiyan" -- a state government programme -- in a village. Two of his security guards were shot dead by the Maoists in the incident.
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Gram Swaraj is a programme aimed at ensuring better coordination between people in the villages and the administration.
 
Menon is the second IAS officer to be kidnapped by the Maoists in recent times. In February last year, the left-wing extremists had abducted the Collector and District Magistrate of Malkangiri in neighbouring Odisha, R Vineel Krishna and held him hostage for eight days before freeing him after the state government agreed to several conditions laid down by them.
 
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Maoists likely to release abducted Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon on Thursday

Alex Paul Menon, the Collector and District Magistrate of Sukma in Chhattisgarh who was abducted by Maoists on April 21, is likely to be released later on Thursday, sources said.

Alex Paul Menon
Alex Paul Menon
Alex Paul Menon, the Collector and District Magistrate of Sukma in Chhattisgarh who was abducted by Maoists on April 21, is likely to be released later today, sources said.
 
A Chhattisgarh government helicopter, carrying the two mediators nominated by the Maoists, B D Sharma and G Hargopal, left state capital Raipur for Chintalnar, from where they will proceed by a vehicle to Tarmetla, where Menon's captors are expected to release him.
 
Mr Sharma, a former Collector of the undivided Bastar district and an expert on tribal issues, and Prof G Hargopal, a Hyderabad-based academician, declined to say anything on the issue to mediapersons before they left Raipur.
 
On April 30, Mr Sharma and Mr Hargopal and the mediators named by the state government -- former Chief Secretaries Nirmala Buch of Madhya Pradesh and S K MIshra of Chhattisgarh -- had reached an agreement on the release of Menon, 32, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 2006 batch.
 
In their initial demands, the Maoists had sought freedom for 17 of their colleagues in jail in exchange for the release of Menon. They also wanted an end to "Operation Greenhunt" launched by the security forces against them and the withdrawal of Central para-military forces from the state.
 
But sources said the agreement between the mediators did not mention the release of jailed Maoists. They said the state government had agreed to set up a high-powered committee to review the cases involving Maoists.
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The committee, which will include the state Chief Secretary and Director General of Police as members and be headed by Ms Buch, will become operational "within an hour" after the release of Menon, the sources said.
 
The agreement was approved by a Cabinet sub-committee headed by the Chief Minister.
 
Menon, the first Collector and District Magistrate of the newly-formed district, was taken hostage by a group of Maoists while he was attending a "Gram Swaraj Abhiyan" -- a state government programme -- in a village. Two of his security guards were shot dead by the Maoists in the incident.
 
Gram Swaraj is a programme aimed at ensuring better coordination between people in the villages and the administration.
 
Menon is the second IAS officer to be kidnapped by the Maoists in recent times. In February last year, the left-wing extremists had abducted the Collector and District Magistrate of Malkangiri in neighbouring Odisha, R Vineel Krishna and held him hostage for eight days before freeing him after the state government agreed to several conditions laid down by them.
 
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Maoists may release abducted Sukma Collector in 48 hours

Alex Paul Menon
Alex Paul Menon

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said last night that he was hopeful that the Maoists would release abducted Sukma Collector and District Magistrate Alex Paul Menon within 48 hours.

Mr Singh told journalists in Raipur that mediators representing the Government and the negotiators named by the Maoists had reached an agreement under which the official, who was taken hostage on April 21, would be released within 48 hours.
 
The Maoists had earlier sought freedom for 17 of their colleagues in jail in exchange for the release of Menon, 32, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 2006 batch.
 
They also wanted an end to "Operation Greenhunt" launched by the security forces against them and the withdrawal of Central para-military forces from the state.
 
But sources said the agreement between the mediators did not mention the release of jailed Maoists. They said the state government had agreed to set up a three-member high-powered committee to review the cases involving Maoists.
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The committee, which will include the state Chief Secretary and Director General of Police as members, will become operational "within an hour" after the release of Menon, the sources said.
 
The agreement was approved by a Cabinet sub-committee headed by the Chief Minister.
 
The Chhattisgarh government had named former Chief Secretaries Nirmala Buch of Madhya Pradesh and S K Mishra of Chhattisgarh as its mediators for talks with the negotiators nominated by the Maoists.
 
The Maoists' mediators are B D Sharma, a former Collector of the undivided Bastar district and an expert on tribal issues, and Prof G Hargopal.
 
Menon, the first Collector and District Magistrate of the newly-formed district, was taken hostage by a group of Maoists while he was attending a "Gram Swaraj Abhiyan" -- a state government programme -- in a village. Two of his security guards were shot dead by the Maoists in the incident.
 
Gram Swaraj is a programme aimed at ensuring better coordination between people in the villages and the administration.
 
Menon is the second IAS officer to be kidnapped by the Maoists in recent times. In February last year, the left-wing extremists had abducted the Collector and District Magistrate of Malkangiri in neighbouring Odisha, R Vineel Krishna and held him hostage for eight days before freeing him after the state government agreed to several conditions laid down by them.
 
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CBI arrests top Income Tax official in Raipur on bribery charges

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The Central Bureau of Investigation today said it had arrested a Joint Commissioner of Income Tax at Raipur in Chhattisgarh for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 15 lakh from local businessmen.

The agency said it had also arrested three others for allegedly offering the bribe to him.
 
The official, P W Athalye and his team had conducted a survey on April 16 at the factory and office premises of four businessmen who run a company engaged in road construction, transport and manufacturing of spong iron.
 
It was alleged that three persons acted as middlemen for the accused officials of the Income Tax Department for negotiating/arranging and delivering illegal gratification to them in collusion with the businessmen.
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Maoists demand release of 9 more associates for abducted Sukma Collector's freedom

Alex Paul Menon
Alex Paul Menon
Even as mediators began another round of talks today to secure the freedom of Alex Paul Menon, the Collector and District Magistrate of Sukma district in Chhattisgarh who was abducted by Maoists last Saturday, the rebels have reportedly come up with a new demand for the release of nine more of their associates.
 
Earlier, the Maoists were learnt to have sought the release of eight of their colleagues, an end to the "Operation Greenhunt" by security forces against them and the withdrawal of Central para-military forces from the state in exchange for the freedom of the 32-year-old Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer.
 
Media reports from Sukma said the Maoists had sent a fresh list of demands with the names of nine more of their associates, whom they want freed from prison.
 
Yesterday, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader and former MLA Manish Kunjam, who was rushed by the Chhattisgarh government to deliver medicines for Menon, had said that the official was safe and in good health.
 
Speaking to reporters after his return to Sukma yesterday, Kunjam said he had gone for two tasks: to deliver the medicines for Menon, who is said to be a patient of asthma, and to enquire about his health.
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"I have carried out both these tasks," he said, but, despite persistent queries, declined to say whether he had actually met Menon.
 
The Chhattisgarh government has named former Chief Secretaries Nirmala Buch of Madhya Pradesh and S K Mishra of Chhattisgarh as its mediators for talks with the negotiators nominated by the Maoists.
 
The Maoists had initially named three mediators to negotiate on their behalf, but one of them, senior Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, said he would talk to the Maoists only after they released the 32-year-old Menon. He appealed to the Maoists to release Menon unharmed and unconditionally.
 
"In my view kidnapping a civilian officer and holding him as a hostage is not right. Maoists should release the officer unconditionally. Most of the demands of the Maoists are justified, but I cannot negotiate with the Maoists in this situation," he had told mediapesons.
 
The others named by the Maoists are B D Sharma, a former Collector of the undivided Bastar district and an expert on tribal issues, and Kunjam, the former MLA from Konta district.
 
The state government had rushed medicines through Kunjam after the Maoists had issued a statement on Tuesday morning saying that Menon was in a bad state.
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Kunjam had declined to participate in the mediation process but had volunteered to carry medicines to the kidnapped officer. Menon's wife Asha had earlier said that he was carrying medicines for only two days with him.
 
The Maoists had later nominated Prof G Hargopal as one of their negotiators.
 
Menon, the first Collector and District Magistrate of the newly-formed district, was taken hostage by a group of Maoists on Saturday. He is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 2006 batch.
 
Two of Menon's security guards were shot dead by the Maoists who waylaid his vehicle near Keralapal area in the district when he was on his way back to the district headquarters after attending a "Gram Swaraj Abhiyan" - a state government-run programme - in a village.
 
Gram Swaraj is a programme aimed at ensuring better coordination between people in the villages and the administration.
 
Menon's wife Asha issued an appeal on Saturday to the Naxalites, urging them to release her husband. She pointed out that they were married only a few months ago and he had always worked for the welfare of the people of the area.
 
Menon is the second IAS officer to be kidnapped by the Maoists in recent times. In February last year, the left-wing extremists had abducted the Collector and District Magistrate of Malkangiri in neighbouring Odisha, R Vineel Krishna and held him hostage for eight days before freeing him after the state government agreed to several conditions laid down by them.
 
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Former Chhattisgarh MLA Kunjam says abducted Sukma Collector safe, in good health

Alex Paul Menon
Alex Paul Menon

Communist Party of India (CPI) leader and former MLA Manish Kunjam, who was rushed by the Chhattisgarh government to deliver medicines for abducted Sukma Collector and District Magistrate Alex Paul Menon, today said the official was safe and in good health.

Speaking to reporters after his return to Sukma this morning, Kunjam said he had gone for two tasks: to deliver the medicines for Menon, who is said to be a patient of asthma, and to enquire about his health.
 
"I have carried out both these tasks," he said, but, despite persistent queries, declined to say whether he had actually met Menon.
 
Kunjam was expected to brief the district administration about his visit and later fly to Raipur to brief state government officials.
 
Also today, the mediators appointed by the state government and the Maoists to negotiate the release of Menon are expected to begin their task today.
 
The Chhattisgarh government has named former Chief Secretaries Nirmala Buch of Madhya Pradesh and S K Mishra of Chhattisgarh as its mediators on April 24.
 
The Maoists had named three mediators a day earlier to negotiate on their behalf, but one of them, senior Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, said he would talk to the Maoists only after they released the 32-year-old Menon.
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He appealed to the Maoists with all the moral authority at his command to release Menon unharmed and unconditionally.
 
"In my view kidnapping a civilian officer and holding him as a hostage is not right. Maoists should release the officer unconditionally. Most of the demands of the Maoists are justified, but I cannot negotiate with the Maoists in this situation," he told mediapesons.
 
The others named by the Maoists are B D Sharma, a former Collector of the undivided Bastar district and an expert on tribal issues, and Kunjam, a former MLA from Konta district.
 
The state government had rushed medicines through Kunjam after the Maoists had issued a statement on Tuesday morning saying that Menon was in a bad state.
 
Kunjam had declined to participate in the mediation process but had volunteered to carry medicines to the kidnapped officer. Menon's wife Asha had earlier said that he was carrying medicines for only two days with him.
 
The Maoists had later suggested the name of Prof G Hargopal as one of their negotiators and he is expected to reach Chhattisgarh soon.
 
Menon, 32, the first Collector and District Magistrate of the newly-formed district, was taken hostage by a group of Maoists on Saturday. He is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 2006 batch.
 
Media reports said the Maoists had demanded the release of eight of their imprisoned colleagues and a halt to the operations launched by security forces against them in exchange for the freedom of the official. They also wanted the withdrawal of all Central forces from the state.
 
Two of Menon's security guards were shot dead by the Maoists who waylaid his vehicle near Keralapal area in the district when he was on his way back to the district headquarters after attending a "Gram Swaraj Abhiyan" - a state government-run programme - in a village.
 
Gram Swaraj is a programme aimed at ensuring better coordination between people in the villages and the administration.
 
Menon has been Collector of the district since January 6, 2011. In earlier postings, he has served as Additional Collector in Dhamtari and in Jagdalpur.
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Menon's wife Asha issued an appeal on Saturday to the Naxalites, urging them to release her husband. She pointed out that they were married only a few months ago and he had always worked for the welfare of the people of the area.
 
Menon is the second IAS officer to be kidnapped by the Maoists in recent times. In February last year, the left-wing extremists had abducted the Collector and District Magistrate of Malkangiri in neighbouring Odisha, R Vineel Krishna and held him hostage for eight days before freeing him after the state government agreed to several conditions laid down by them.
 
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Chattisgarh govt. names mediators to secure release of abducted Collector

The Chhattisgarh government on Tuesday named former Chief Secretaries Nirmala Buch of Madhya Pradesh and S K Mishra of Chhattisgarh as its mediators who will hold talks for the release of Alex Paul Menon, the Collector and District Magistrate of Sukma district, who was abducted by Maoists on Saturday.

Alex Paul Menon
Alex Paul Menon

The Chhattisgarh government today named former Chief Secretaries Nirmala Buch of Madhya Pradesh and S K Mishra of Chhattisgarh as its mediators who will hold talks for the release of Alex Paul Menon, the Collector and District Magistrate of Sukma district, who was abducted by Maoists on Saturday.

The Maoists had named three mediators yesterday to negotiate on their behalf, but one of them, senior Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, said he would talk to the Maoists only after they released the 32-year-old Menon.
 
He appealed to the Maoists with all the moral authority at his command to release Menon unharmed and unconditionally.
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"In my view kidnapping a civilian officer and holding him as a hostage is not right. Maoists should release the officer unconditionally. Most of the demands of the Maoists are justified, but I cannot negotiate with the Maoists in this situation," he told mediapesons.
 
The others named by the Maoists are B D Sharma, a former Collector of the undivided Bastar district and an expert on tribal issues, and Manish Kunjam, a former MLA from Konta district.
 
Official sources said the state government had rushed medicines through Kunjam after the Maoists had issued a statement this morning saying that Menon was in a bad state. Kunjam has declined to participate in the mediation process but has volunteered to carry medicines to the kidnapped officer, who is said to a patient of asthma. Menon's wife Asha had earlier said that he was carrying medicines for only two days with him.
 
Menon, the first Collector and District Magistrate of the newly-formed district, was taken hostage by a group of Maoists on Saturday. He is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 2006 batch was safe.
 
Media reports said the Maoists had demanded the release of eight of their imprisoned colleagues and a halt to the operations launched by security forces against them in exchange for the freedom of the official. They also wanted the withdrawal of all Central forces from the state.
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The Maoists are understood to have set a deadline of April 25 for the fulfilment of their demands.
 
Two of Menon's security guards were shot dead by the Maoists who waylaid his vehicle near Keralapal area in the district when he was on his way back to the district headquarters after attending a "Gram Swaraj Abhiyan" - a state government-run programme - in a village.
 
Gram Swaraj is a programme aimed at ensuring better coordination between people in the villages and the administration.
 
Menon has been Collector of the district since January 6, 2011. In earlier postings, he has served as Additional Collector in Dhamtari and in Jagdalpur.
 
Menon's wife Asha issued an appeal on Saturday to the Naxalites, urging them to release her husband. She pointed out that they were married only a few months ago and he had always worked for the welfare of the people of the area.
 
Menon is the second IAS officer to be kidnapped by the Maoists in recent times. In February last year, the left-wing extremists had abducted the Collector and District Magistrate of Malkangiri in neighbouring Odisha, R Vineel Krishna and held him hostage for eight days before freeing him after the state government agreed to several conditions laid down by them.
 
The latest abduction comes at a time when, in Odisha, ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA Jhina Hikaka, 36, a first-time legislator from Laxmipur, continues to be in captivity, a month after he was taken hostage by Maoists on March 24.
 
Around the same time, in an indication of stepped-up activity by the left-wing extremists, another group of Maoists had abducted two Italian nationals in Odisha on March 14, but both have since been freed after the state government agreed to release several Maoists and their sympathisers from jail.
 
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Centre in touch with Chhattisgarh govt. on abduction of Sukma Collector

The Centre said on Monday it was in constant touch with the Chhatisgarh government on the abduction by Maoists of Alex Paul Menon, the Collector and District Magistrate of Sukma district, and would provide all necessary assistance to it to resolve the crisis.

Alex Paul Menon
Alex Paul Menon
The Centre today said it was in constant touch with the Chhatisgarh government on the abduction by Maoists of Alex Paul Menon, the Collector and District Magistrate of Sukma district, and would provide all necessary assistance to it to resolve the crisis.
 
Menon, the first Collector and District Magistrate of the newly-formed district, was taken hostage by a group of Maoists on Saturday and Chhattisgarh government was making efforts to secure his safe release.
 
"We are in regular touch with the state government. Whatever support they are asking for, is being given, will be given," Union Home Secretary R K Singh told mediapersons here this morning.
 
Singh is understood to have spoken to the state Chief Secretary on the issue and offered to send additional Central forces, if needed.
 
Reports reaching here said the police had received information that the 32-year-old Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 2006 batch was safe.
 
Social activist and spiritual leader Swami Agnivesh is learnt to have offered to mediate beteen the Maoists and the state government.
 
Media reports said the Maoists had demanded the release of eight of their imprisoned colleagues and a halt to the operations launched by security forces against them in exchange for the freedom of the official. They also wanted the withdrawal of all Central forces from the state.
 
The Maoists are understood to have set a deadline of April 25 for the fulfilment of their demands.
 
Two of Menon's security guards were shot dead by the Maoists who waylaid his vehicle near Keralapal area in the district when he was on his way back to the district headquarters after attending a "Gram Swaraj Abhiyan" - a state government-run programme - in a village.
 
Gram Swaraj is a programme aimed at ensuring better coordination between people in the villages and the administration.
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Menon has been Collector of the district since January 6, 2011. In earlier postings, he has served as Additional Collector in Dhamtari and in Jagdalpur.
 
Menon studied at the RVS College of Engineering and Technology (RVSCET), Dindigul, affiliated to the Madurai Kamaraj University, Tamil Nadu, after completing his schooling from the Keins Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Tirunelveli.
 
Menon's wife Asha issued an appeal on Saturday to the Naxalites, urging them to release her husband. She pointed out that they were married only a few months ago and he had always worked for the welfare of the people of the area.
 
Menon is the second IAS officer to be kidnapped by the Maoists in recent times. In February last year, the left-wing extremists had abducted the Collector and District Magistrate of Malkangiri in neighbouring Odisha, R Vineel Krishna and held him hostage for eight days before freeing him after the state government agreed to several conditions laid down by them.
 
The latest abduction comes at a time when, in Odisha, ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA Jhina Hikaka, 36, a first-time legislator from Laxmipur, continues to be in captivity, a month after he was taken hostage by Maoists on March 24.
 
Around the same time, in an indication of stepped-up activity by the left-wing extremists, another group of Maoists had abducted two Italian nationals in Odisha on March 14, but both have since been freed after the state government agreed to release several Maoists and their sympathisers from jail.
 
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Chattisgarh police continue efforts to secure release of abducted Collector

Alex Paul Menon
Alex Paul Menon
The Chhattisgarh police today continued their efforts to secure the release of Alex Paul Menon, the Collector and District Magistrate of the newly-formed district of Sukma in the state, who was abducted by Maoists yesterday.
 
Reports reaching here said the police had received information that the 32-year-old Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 2006 batch was safe.
 
Social activist and spiritual leader Swami Agnivesh is learnt to have offered to mediate beteen the Maoists and the state government.
 
Media reports said the Maoists had demanded the release of eight of their imprisoned colleagues and a halt to the operations launched by security forces against them in exchange for the freedom of the official.
 
Two of Menon's security guards were shot dead by a group of Maoists who waylaid his vehicle near Keralapal area in the district when he was on his way back to the district headquarters after attending a "Gram Swaraj Abhiyan" - a state government-run programme - in a village.
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Gram Swaraj is a programme aimed at ensuring better coordination between people in the villages and the administration.
 
Menon is the first collector of the newly-formed district since January 6, 2011. In earlier postings, he has served as Additional Collector in Dhamtari and in Jagdalpur.
 
Menon studied at the RVS College of Engineering and Technology (RVSCET), Dindigul, affiliated to the Madurai Kamaraj University, Tamil Nadu, after completing his schooling from the Keins Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Tirunelveli.
 
Menon's wife Asha issued an appeal yesterday to the Naxalites, urging them to release her husband. She pointed out that they were married only a few months ago and he had always worked for the welfare of the people of the area.
 
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh held an emergency meeting with top police and intelligence officials to take stock of the situation even as the security forces launched a massive combing operation in the forests of Sukma and Dantewada districts to trace the abducted collector.
 
Menon is the second IAS officer to be kidnapped by the Maoists in recent times. In February last year, the left-wing extremists had abducted the Collector and District Magistrate of Malkangiri in neighbouring Odisha, R Vineel Krishna and held him hostage for eight days before freeing him after the state government agreed to several conditions laid down by them.
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The latest abduction comes at a time when, in Odisha, ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA Jhina Hikaka, 36, a first-time legislator from Laxmipur, continues to be in captivity, nearly a month after he was taken hostage by Maoists on March 24.
 
Around the same time, in an indication of stepped-up activity by the left-wing extremists, another group of Maoists had abducted two Italian nationals in Odisha on March 14, but both have since been freed after the state government agreed to release several Maoists and their sympathisers from jail.
 
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Maoists abduct Collector of Sukma district in Chhattisgarh

Alex Paul Menon
Alex Paul Menon
Even as an MLA continues to be held hostage in Odisha, Maoists today abducted Alex Paul Menon, the Collector and District Magistrate of the newly-formed district of Sukma in Chhattisgarh, official sources said.
 
The sources said two of the security guards of the 32-year-old Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer were shot dead by the ultras in the incident.
 
According to the sources, Menon was on his way back to the district headquarters after attending a "Gram Swaraj Abhiyan" - a state government-run programme - in a village when his vehicle was waylaid near Keralapal area by 15-20 Maoists who took him hostage. 
 
Gram Swaraj is a programme aimed at ensuring better coordination between people in the villages and the administration.
 
Superintendent of Police Abhishek Shandiliya and other police officials have rushed to the spot, the sources said.
 
In Raipur, state Chief Minister Raman Singh said the state government would make every effort to secure the release of the officer at the earliest.
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Menon is an officer of the 2006 batch of the IAS. He is the first collector of the newly-formed district since January 6, 2011. In earlier postings, he has served as Additional Collector in Dhamtari and in Jagdalpur.
 
Menon studied at the RVS College of Engineering and Technology (RVSCET), Dindigul, affiliated to the Madurai Kamaraj University, Tamil Nadu after completing his schooling from the Keins Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Tirunelveli.
 
In neighbouring Odisha, ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA Jhina Hikaka, 36, a first-time legislator from Laxmipur, continues to be in captivity, nearly a month after he was taken hostage by Maoists on March 24.
 
Around the same time, in an indication of stepped-up activity by the left-wing extremists, another group of Maoists had abducted two Italian nationals in Odisha on March 14, but both have since been freed after the state government agreed to release several Maoists and their sympathisers from jail.
 
Last year, Maoists had abducted the Collector and District Magistrate of Malkangiri in Odisha, R Vineel Krishna, on February 16 and held him hostage for eight days before freeing him after the state government agreed to several conditions laid down by the rebels.
 
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Railways, Chhattisgarh govt sign MoU for rail corridors in state

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The Railways and the Chhattisgarh government today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of three rail corridors for both passengers and freight in the north region of the state.
 
The MoU was signed by Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal and Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary Sunil Kumar in the presence of Railways Minister Dinesh Trivedi and state Chief Minister Raman Singh here.
 
The three rail corridors, which will be approximately 452 kilometres in total length, are: East Corridor: Bhupdevpur-Gharghoda-Dharamjaygarh up to Korba with spur from Gharghoda to Donga Mauha to connect mines of Gare-Pelma block, approximately 180 kilometres in length; North Corridor: Surajpur-Parsa-Katghora-Korba, approximately 150 kilometres in length and East-West Corridor: Gevra Raod to Pendra Road via Dipka, Katghora, Sindurgarh, approximately 122 kilometres in length. 

Raipur's Mana airport renamed after Swami Vivekanand

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The Union Cabinet today approved the renaming of the Mana Airport at Raipur as "Swami Vivekanand Airport, Raipur". This will fulfill the long pending demand of people and the State Government of Chhattisgarh.
 
The Raipur Airport belongs to Airports Authority of India (AAI) and is suitable for operation of A-320 type of aircraft (VFR/IFR operations). Presently Air India, Jet Airways/ Jetlite and Kingfisher are operating and approximately 85 domestic flights per week to/from Raipur Airport are operating. 
 
Swami Vivekanand, one of the most renowned spiritual leaders, spent a major part of his life in Raipur. 
 
"Hence it will be apt to rename Mana Airport at Raipur in Chhattisgarh as 'Swami Vivekanand Airport, Raipur" paying homage to the spiritual leader," an official press release added.
 
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5 hurt as BSF chopper "Dhruv" crashes at Raipur airport

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Five people, including the pilot, a co-pilot and three engineers, aboard a Border Security Force (BSF) helicopter "Dhruv" had a providential escape with injuries after the chopper crashed on the runway at Raipur airport while taking off for a trial flight.

The chopper - designed and manufactured by the Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) - plummeted to the runway from a height 35 ft due to sudden engine failure, injured pilot P D Tiwari said.
 
A team of doctors, treating the injured at the Ram Krishna Care Hospital, said all the five identified as pilot P D Tiwari, co-pilot R K Sarin, and engineers Subrat Chandra, Pankaj Pal and Anand Bharti, were out of danger.

Naxalite dies in police custody, 4 cops suspended in Chhattisgarh

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A suspected Naxalite died in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh late last night and four police officials were later suspended in connection with the incident, police said.

While police claimed that the man hanged himself, his family members and tribal leaders accused the police of torturing the 26-year-old, leading to his death and demanded registration of a criminal case against those guilty. 
 
Madkam Mara was arrested during a search by district police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel from forests at Murtunda village yesterday. A loaded gun was seized from his possession. He was wanted in connection with the murder of janpad member Bhimaram Markam.
 
"Assistant Sub-Inspector Ramavtar Patel, head constable Korsa Nagaiya, constables Shikul Kujur and Amjad Khan were suspended with immediate effect for negligence," Sub-Divisional Officer of Police Lakhan Patel told reporters here.
 
Adivadi Mahasabha leader Manish Kunjam alleged that Madkami was picked up by CRPF personnel four days back and tortured leading to his death. He said suspension was no punishment and demanded booking of guilty personnel for murder. 
 
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