Mediators say they have brought proposals from Naxals

Bhubaneswar, Feb 20 (PTI) Setting the tone for talkswith Orissa government for release of abducted Malkangiridistrict collector and an engineer, the two Maoist-handpickedmediators today said they were carrying some proposals fromthe Naxals and were keen to resolve the five-day crisis.

"We have brought some proposals from the Maoistleaders which will be placed before the Orissa governmentduring our talks," Prof. Hargopal and Prof. Someswar Rao, bothfrom Andhra Pradesh, told reporters soon after their arrivalat Biju Patnaik Airport here.

Rao said, "We will like to resolve the hostagecrisis."

Talks between interlocutors and state government forrelease of Malkangiri district collector R V Krishna andjunior engineer Pabitra Mohan Majhi, slated to be held lastnight, were postponed as the mediators had failed to reachhere.

Maintaining that there was "no pressure" from theMaoists, they said, "First, we have to know the agenda set bythe state government as it will ensure smooth talks."

As Krishna and Majhi spent the fifth day in captivity,all eyes were now set on the much-awaited talks.

While preliminary talks were held with the mediatorsover phone, preparatory work was done by senior stateofficials for crucial negotiations to secure safe release of30-year-old Krishna, a 2005 batch IAS officer, and Majhi whowere abducted from Chitrakonda area of Malkangiri district onWednesday evening.

Besides halt to anti-Naxal joint combing operations,which has already been conceded, the seven-point demands ofthe Naxals included withdrawal of BSF, release of 700 jailedtribal Naxals and scrapping of Polavaram multi-purpose damproject in Andhra Pradesh.

Though Maoists have sought release of some 700 jailedtribal ultras, their emphasis appeared to be on setting free acouple of "key persons", including Padma, wife of a top Maoistleader, Gantiprasad, who faces about 100 cases in Orissa andAndhra Pradesh, S Srinivasulu, former chief of pro-MaoistRevolutionary Writers Association in Andhra Pradesh and seniormember of CPI (Maoist).

Orissa government yesterday examined the chargesagainst certain key Naxals whose release is expected tofacilitate the safe return of the two abducted officials.

The abduction of the two officials has drawnwidespread condemnation with people from all walks of lifestaging peace rallies in different parts of the state seekingtheir safe release.

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