Anxiety gave way to jubilation at the house of A. Varadhas, father of Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon, as soon as news came about his son's release. Firecrackers were burst and sweets distributed as the curtain rung down on the hostage crisis.

Mr. Alex Paul Menon was abducted by Maoists on April 21. After nearly 12 days of captivity, he was released on Thursday evening. Relatives thronged Mr. Varadhas' house at Kolathur here in the morning as initial information was that Mr. Menon would be released at 8 a.m.

As each hour passed, tension began to mount. It was finally evening when Mr. Varadhas got confirmation that his son had been released. Expressing joy over the happy ending, he said, “One of my brothers who is with the interlocutors, has confirmed that my son has been released. I am overwhelmed with joy. All these days, I was in panic, worried whether my son would be released or not. I lost sleep and was restless. Now, I can heave a sigh of relief.”

With tears, Mr. Varadhas, a retired schoolteacher, profusely thanked all those who took efforts for his son's freedom.

Appealing to the Maoists to desist from such abductions, Mr. Varadhas said that as his son had gone to work for the people, they should not have done this to him.

He also expressed his wish that he would continue to work at the same place and said this was his daughter-in-law's wish too.

Sharing in his joy was T.R. Venugopalan, father-in-law of Mr. Menon. “It is a great joy for me and I hope to speak to him as soon as possible,” he said.

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