Negotiation for Collector''s release postponed till tomorrow

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 19 (PTI) The meeting between OrissaGovernment and mediators for the safe release of abductedMalkangiri Collector R V Krishna and junior engineer PabitraMajhi was postponed till tomorrow, officials said.

The meeting, earlier scheduled to be held tonight, waspostponed as the two mediators named by Maoists and contactedby the state government, could not reach here today.

One of the interlocutors was said to be unwell and so theteam failed to reach here, they said.

"We could not go to Bhubaneswar today. We will reachthere tomorrow morning," Prof Hargopal, one of the mediatorstold PTI over phone.

Prof Hargopal said the state government had been informedabout the demands of Maoists, who abducted the collector andthe engineer from remote Chitrakonda area of Malkangiridistrict on Wednesday evening.

While preliminary talks were held between the OrissaGovernment and the mediators over phone, preparatory work wasbeing done by the senior state officials ahead of the crucialnegotiations.

The abduction of Krishna and Majhi from remoteChitrakonda area, a Maoist stronghold in Malkangiri districtbordering Andhra Pradesh, has drawn widespread condemnationwith people from all walks of life staging peace rallies indifferent parts of the state seeking their early and saferelease.

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