Orissa may facilitate release of Maoist leaders

Sunday, February 20, 2011

BHUBANESHWAR - The Orissa government may give in to the Maoists demand of release of their jailed leaders in exchange for abducted Malkangiri collector and an engineer, sources said Sunday.

Sources said the government has also begun process of evaluating charges against some of the rebels lodged in various jails. To facilitate the negotiation process, the government may ask its lawyers not to object bail petitions moved by their lawyers.

R. Vineel Krishna, the district collector of Malkangiri, was abducted along with junior engineer Pabitra Mohan Majhi by Maoists Wednesday evening.

The state government Friday requested two human rights activists and academics G. Haragopal and R. Someswar Rao to mediate after Maoists suggested their names.

Although officials declined to make any comments, sources said efforts are also on for the release of Maoist ideologue Ganti Prasadam after one of the mediators said his release will speed up the process of dialogue.

I appeal to the government of Orissa to release Ganti Prasadam, Hargopal said in an interview from Delhi to a local television channel Saturday.

Most of the cases against him are in Andhra Pradesh and the high court has already granted him bail, he said.

Once he is out, perhaps I and R.S. Rao (the other mediator) will try to intervene in the situation. Prasadam can speak on behalf of the party (Communist Party of India-Maoist). Perhaps we can find some solution, he said.

According to sources, the state police secured a prison transfer warrant from a court and already have brought Prasadam from a jail in Andhra Pradesh Saturday night.

He is now in Koraput jail, senior state police official told IANS confirming the development.

Prasadam’s lawyer moved a petition in a local court Saturday seeking grant of bail which was rejected. His lawyer may move the bail petition again Monday, he said.

The rebels have also sought release of their colleagues languishing in different jails in the state. At least seven of them are hard core Maoists, he said.

Filed under: Terrorism

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