Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Stepping up efforts for the release of a district collector and an engineer kidnapped by Maoists on Feb 16, the Orissa government on Monday resumed talks with the three mediators chosen by the guerrillas. State Home Secretary UN Behera and Panchayati Raj Secretary SN Tripathy began the second round of talks with the negotiators Dandapani Mohanty and academicians G Haragopal and R Someswar Rao in the state guest house. The talks which began on Sunday and went on for several hours remained inconclusive. The district collector of Malkangiri, R Vineel Krishna, and junior engineer Pabitra Mohan Majhi, were abducted by Maoists Feb 16 evening. The release may take some more time as a key rebel ideologue is still behind bars, a mediator said on Monday hours before the start of the second round discussion. G Haragopal said the talks with Maoists may linger because Ganti Prasadam, a Maoist ideologue, has not been released yet. According to sources, state police secured a prison transfer warrant from a court and have already brought Prasadam from a jail in Andhra Pradesh Saturday night. The issues being discussed include human rights violations, displacements by various development projects and tribals languishing in different jails on minor charges or sometimes even without any charge. The Maoists, in a letter to the government, listed their demands for the safe release of the hostages. These included halting of anti-Maoist operations by security forces, release of all political prisoners, the scrapping of accords with MNCs and compensation for the families of Maoist sympathisers killed in police custody.


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