- By Rabindra Nath Choudhury Deccan Chronicle
In a significant development, that is certain to give a major fillip to counter-insurgency in the country, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), pressed into service on Monday to scan Bastar jungles to track Maoists holding Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon hostage since April 21, reportedly located him on Monday, a highly placed official source said here.
“The UAV has sent clear pictures showing the location where the young IAS officer has been kept now. He has been shifted several times in the nearby locations in the past 48 hours and currently held captive at Tulsipar, a remote village located on Tulsidongar hill, bordering south Odisha”, a senior police officer told this newspaper told this newspaper.
The 1100 meter-long-mountain is surrounded by dense forests, comprising almost 200 sq km from Chhattisgarh and 250 sq km from Odisha sides.
Tulsidongar is very close to interstate river of Shabari and is around eight from Majhipara from where the collector was abducted on Saturday afternoon when he was touring local tribal villages to participate in a government outreach programme, and around 8 km from Malkangiri district in south Odisha.
“Tulsidongar is considered a strong Naxal-hold and safe haven for Maoists operating in border areas of Chhattisgarh and Odisha. The Darbha Division Committee of outlawed CPI (Maoist) is active in the region. Administration is yet to reach the Red bastion”, a senior police officer in Bastar said, requesting anonymity.
Tulsidangar where the abducted Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon is located by
UAV on Monday, falls under Sukma district in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region. Sources said the drone sent images shows 300- 400 people, possibly local tribals along with Naxals, surrounding the tiny village.
Sources however ruled out any commando operation to rescue the kidnapped collector
‘at the present juncture’ considering threat to his life and collateral damages such mission may cause.