Mediators reach Orissa for talks with Maoists

Sunday, February 20, 2011

BHUBANESWAR - Human right activists and academicians G. Haragopal and R. Someswar Rao arrived in the Orissa capital Sunday to mediate with Maoists for the release of a district collector and an engineer who were abducted by them four days ago.

“Both have arrived and the negotiations will start soon,” a senior state intelligence department official told IANS.

“we are just mediators, there is no question of putting any pressure on the government. We do not know the programme yet, we cannot say anything now, unless we talk to the government,” Haragopal, a retired professor from Kakatiya University, told reporters at the airport.

As soon as the duo reached the Bhubaneswar airport, they were taken to the state guest house. They were accompanied by some of their relatives.

R. Vineel Krishna, the district collector of Malkangiri, was abducted along with junior engineer Pabitra Mohan Majhi by Maoists Wednesday evening. This is the first time an Indian Administrative Service official has been kidnapped in the state.

Haragopal, who had gone to Hyderabad from New Delhi Saturday, held talks with the other mediator, Someshwar Rao, a retired professor of economics, and Maoist sympathiser and revolutionary writer Varavara Rao.

The trio met at Hyderabad Central University to discuss modalities for the mediation to seek the safe release of abducted district collector Krishna, who hails from Andhra Pradesh.

The rebels, who had initially set a two-day deadline to meet their demands, extended it by another 48 hours after it lapsed Friday evening. The extension was announced by a Maoist leader, identifying himself as Bhaskar, secretary of the Andhra-Orissa Border State Zonal Committee (AOBSZC) of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist, late Friday night.

Filed under: Terrorism

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