Malkangiri Collector abduction: Prisoner who Maoists want freed files bail plea

 
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Malkangiri, Feb 19 (ANI): A prisoner named Srinivas Sriramulu, who is one among the seven people the Maoists want freed in return for Malkangiri District Collector R V Krishna, has filed a bail application in the district fast track court here on Saturday afternoon.

Sriramulu has been lodged in Malkangiri jail since 2007, and tried in six cases in the last four years. All the cases resulted in his acquittal.

"After six successive acquittals, in September 2009, he was implicated in a case dating back to July 2007. The FIR of the incident did not name him. It simply said unnamed Maoists. Our contention is that he has been falsely implicated in this case, and so we are seeking bail," said Sriramulu's lawyer Ram Patnaik.

Meanwhile, the two professors (both from Andhra Pradesh), who were picked by the Maoists, to negotiate the release of District Collector Krishna and junior engineer Pabitra Majhi, will hold discussions with the Orissa Government today on the demands made by the ultras.

"Prof Someswar Rao and Prof Hargopal (both from Andhra Pradesh) will reach Bhubaneswar today ... then we will start discussions on the demands made by the Maoists," said Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in a statement in the state assembly earlier today.

Noting that the Maoists have extended the deadline for fulfillment of their demands, Patnaik said the government has requested the Naxals not to harm the duo.

"The State government has already stopped anti-Naxal combing operations across the state paving the way for negotiations," he added.

Maoists have extended the two-day deadline indefinitely for the Orissa Government to meet their demands in return for the release of Krishna and Majhi.

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.

The Orissa Government today informed that the abducted duo were safe and in good health.

"As per the information available with us, the two abducted persons are safe and in good health" in the captivity of the Maoists," Orissa Chief Secretary B K Patnaik told reporters after a high-level meeting attended by Chief Minister Patnaik, Home Secretary U N Behera and several other political leaders.

"The process for negotiations started yesterday would take off after the arrival here of the two mediators - Prof Hargopal and Prof Someswar Rao. We are waiting for the two to reach Bhubaneswar," he said.

Meanwhile, expressing concern over the abduction of Krishna and Majhi, the state assembly unanimously adopted a resolution today appealing for their safe release.

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. (ANI)

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