Hours after the Chhattisgarh government offered to hold talks to secure the release Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon, Maoists on Monday night named three mediators, including lawyer Prashant Bhushan, for negotiations.

In a statement, the Maoists also termed Mr. Menon’s health as critical and asked the mediators to bring medicines along with them.

Former National SC/ST Commission chairperson B D Sharma and president of All India Adivasi Mahasabha Manish Kunjam are the other mediators named by the Maoists.

The Maoists asked the government not to indulge in “delay tactics” as Mr. Menon’s health was deteriorating.

They said only the three persons named by them will be allowed to negotiate in Tarimetla village and asked them to accept the invitation to act as mediators.

However, Mr. Kunjam has declined the Maoists offer citing regional circumstances and party obligations.