''Deeply concerned'' NHRC appeals to Naxals to free Collector,JE

New Delhi, Feb 21 (PTI) The National Human RightsCommission today appealed to the Naxalites to release an IASofficer and a junior engineer of Orissa who remained in theircaptivity for the sixth day.

Expressing "deep concern" over their detention, the NHRCalso hoped that human rights defenders in the country will tryto secure their release immediately.

R Vineel Krishna, a 30-year-old IAS officer and Malkangiridistrict Collector, was abducted by the Naxals on February 16from Chitrakonda area along with junior engineer PabitraMajhi. Talks are on between Maoist-chosen mediators and thegovernment to ensure that they are freed.

"The National Human Rights Commission with deep concerntakes notice of the detention of Mr R Vineel Krishna, DistrictCollector, Malkangiri and Mr Pabitra Majhi, Junior Engineer,in the state of Orissa," the rights body said in a statement.

"We appeal to the Naxalite group to release themimmediately. We also wish that the human rights defenders inthis country would make efforts to see that the detenues arereleased immediately," it said.

Talks for the safe return of Krishna and Majhi weremoving at a snail''s pace as the rebels pressed for release ofsome Naxal leaders and around 700 tribals from jails in returnfor the duo. The ultras are also demanding a complete halt tojoint anti-Naxal combing operations along Orissa-AndhraPradesh border region by security forces of the two states.

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