Orissa collector could be freed by evening
Bhubaneswar: Malkangiri Collector RV Krishna may be released soon as mediators Dandapani Mahanty and Professor G Haragopal have been reached Koraput to work out the modalities of his release with the Maoists.
Meanwhile, Maoist Ideologue Ganti Prasadam has not been granted bail and has been remanded to judicial custody till March 9. However, he has appealed to the Maoists to release Krishna immediately. A court in Malkangiri earlier this week granted bail to Maoist leader Srinivas Sriramulu.
The Maoists on Wednesday put forward new conditions within hours of releasing Pabitra Mohan Majhi, the junior engineer who was abducted along with Krishna on February 16. Majhi was freed after the government gave in to nearly 14 demands of the rebels. The junior engineer said the Maoists could release the collector in 48 hours.
But negotiators say some of the demands cannot be met, including their traveling to the Malkangiri forests along with freed Maoist leaders to secure release of Krishna in exchange.
G Haragopal, an academician and one of the three mediators in the hostage crisis, said, "It will not be possible for us to abide by these conditions."
Dandapani Mohanty, another mediator, was a little more forthcoming. "They want the mediators to visit Malkangiri district. The new conditions are not acceptable to us. We appeal to them to release the collector as per the deadline of 48 hours (Thursday evening)."
Maoists have demanded the release of their leaders Ganti Prasadam, Padma and Srinivas Sriramulu. They are also seeking that many other prominent Maoists, including Ashutosh, Sobha, Tapan Mishra, Gananath Patra, Iswari, Sarita and Gokul Kuldipia, be set free.
(With additional information from IANS)