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Orissa: Collector, engineer freed by Naxals

Feb 22, 2011 09:56 PM IST India India

Bhubaneswar: Kidnapped Malkangiri District Collector RV Krishna and a junior engineer were released by the Naxals on Tuesday after the Orissa government had caved in to Naxals' remaining six of the 14 demands.

RV Krishna's uncle Mohan Rao said,"We are really happy at this development." Krishna and junior engineer Majhi were abducted from Chitrakonda area of Malkangiri district on February 16, 2011.

While eight demands of Naxals had been settled on Monday remaining six were agreed to during Tuesday's talks which cleared the path for release of Krishna and Majhi.

Earlier in the day, the Home secretary UN Behera said the hostage crisis has been resolved. Prof G Hargopal, one of the three Maoist-chosen interlocutors, told reporters at the conclusion of the talks that the mediators were satisfied at the outcome of the talks.

Behera said it was agreed that cases against five Maoists, including Ganti Prasadam and Padma, wife of top Naxal Ramakrishna will be withdrawn after following due process of law. The government also agreed that there would be no coercive action by security forces as long as the Maoists do not indulge in unlawful activities, he said.

Twelve Maoists including hardcore rebel leader Sriramalu Srinivasalu were on Tuesday released on bail in one case by a fast track court but will be be behind bars in connection with another case.

Regarding the demand by Naxals for release of central committee member of CPI (Maoist) Asutosh Sen, Sriramulu Srinivasulu, Gananath Patra and Jiban Bose, the Home secretary said the matter would be examined on their merit.

About the demand for release of tribals, Behera said the state government in the past had already withdrawn petty cases against tribals and same approach would be adopted for those still in jails. Steps for examining withdrawal of petty cases of tribals now lodged in jails would be started in 15 days and completed within three months, he said.

"We mediators express our satisfaction with the outcome of our mediation. We express appreciation for concern of Naxals for tribals of Orissa. The tribals' release was of utmost concern for them," Prof Hargopal said.

Apart from Prof Hargopal, other interlocutors who participated in the negotiations were Prof Someswar Rao and Dandapani Mohanty while Behera and Panchayati Raj secretary SN Tripathy represented the state government.

"We trust the withdrawal of cases against tribals on priority basis will be taken up in 15 days. We hope that tribals will get released and will be back in their habitats," Prof Hargopal said.