Bhubaneswar, Feb 20 (ANI): In a bid to secure the release of Malkangiri District Collector R V Krishna from the Maoists, the mediators are likely to kick off the negotiations with the Maoists today.
The meeting between the Orissa government and mediators Professor Hargopal and Professor Someswar Rao was earlier slated for last night, but it was postponed to Sunday as the latter failed to reach Bhubaneswar on time.
The Maoists want two of their jailed leaders - Ghanti Prasadam and Sriramulu Srinivas - to represent the party in the negotiation process.
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.
After halting anti-Maoist operations since Thursday - one of the conditions the rebels had laid down for the release of the officials - the Orissa government is now considering their other demands and looking forward to see if the rebels come with any concrete proposal.
The Orissa Government had earlier 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.
Krishna, who was on his way back after attending a health camp in Chitrakonda, has been missing since Thursday evening.
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)