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Malkangiri Collector abduction: Mediators hold talks with Maoist leader in jail

February 22, 2011 - Bhubaneswar

The Orissa government on Tuesday brought a top Maoist leader Ganti Prasadam to speed up the negotiation process for the safe release of a Malkangiri District Collector R. Vineel Krishna and junior engineer Pabitra Majhi.

Soon after Prasadam was brought here from Koraput jail, mediators Prof G Hargopal and Dandapani Mohanty met him at the high-security jail at Jharpada.

"The main objective now is to defuse the situation. The impasse should not be allowed to continue for long," said Prasadam.

Participation of Prasadam in the negotiations remained one of the major demands of the Maoists who had abducted Krishna and Majhi on February 16 from Chitrakonda area of Malkangiri district.

Prof Hargopal had earlier suggested to the State government that Prasadam's release from jail would help in ensuring safe release of the abducted officials.

Prasadam's talks with the mediators assumed significance as it came at a time when negotiation have reached a crucial phase to settle sensitive and contentious demands like release of Maoists and tribals jailed on charge of being Naxals.

Eight of the 14 demands of Maoists were settled on second day of talks between mediators and Orissa government.

The eight points of agreement are: Orissa government will write to Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh to take action on the extremists demand for release of Maoist central committee members Sheela di (jailed in Jharkhand) and Padma (in Chhattisgarh) owing to their ill-health, Scheduled Tribe status for the Konda Reddy and Nukadora communities categorized as Other Backward Classes, stopping the multi-purpose Polavaram project of Andhra Pradesh, 'Pattas' (record of rights) to tribals dispossessed of their land in Malkangiri and Koraput.

The other demands including irrigation in Maribada and Maniamkonda villages in Malkangiri, compensation based on High Court order to Tadangi Gangulu and Ratanu Sirika who died of disease allegedly due to torture, Relevant laws for mining operations in Mali and Deomali bauxite mines and minimum displacement of tribals and adequate compensation.

However, their main demand - the release of eight Maoists - is yet to be resolved.

The ultras extended the deadline on Friday night following an appeal from the State government even as they exploded a landmine on a key road snapping links between Malkangiri district and rest of Orissa.

Krishna, who was on his way back after attending a health camp in Chitrakonda, has been missing since Thursday evening.

The Maoists had earlier sent a note through a junior engineer accompanying Krishna demanding immediate halt to Operation Green Hunt and release of jailed Maoists.


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