Alex Paul Menon introduces himself as ‘Simple, humble, happy go lucky individual with lots of love for humankind, Somebody who can make his surroundings lively with his sense of humour’.
Alex Paul Menon, a young dalit IAS officer from Tamil Nadu, chose to become a collector in the ‘red belt’ of Chattisgarh risking his life, so that he could make a difference in the lives of the Adivasis there. He has blogged about the gap in planning in the ‘gap-filling’ schemes, and how crores of rupees allocated from various schemes are spent on piecemeal programmes, and that the procedures are all so unrealistic.
In the few months that he served as the Sukma district collector, he built a good rapport with the tribal population there. He was working on rebuilding roads and schools that had been demolished by the Maoists. Another dalit officer who was his batch-mate recalls, ‘he is from a humble background, SC, lost his mother when he was 16, father is a retired headmaster. I know him and his family very well. He always wanted to help the poor. He was an honest and upright officer, and above all, a good human being.’
The 32-year old collector was abducted by the Maoists a couple of days back, and they have apparently demanded the release of 8 Maoists and a halt of the Operation Green Hunt in exchange for his release. We believe that the abduction is an act of cowardice, and we suspect that there could be vested interests from the government side as well who were unhappy with Sri Menon’s presence in the tribal belt of Chattisgarh. We hereby call for the immediate release of Alex Paul Menon unconditionally.