Maoists assure govt that hostages would not be harmed

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Maoists
Bhubaneswar, Feb 20: After day-long talks for release of abducted Malkangiri district Collector and an engineer, Maoist-chosen mediators assured the Orissa government that the hostages would not be harmed and rebels would refrain from violence as long as negotiations are on.

"The mediators assured us that no harm will be caused to Malkangiri Collector R V Krishna and junior engineer Pabitra Mohan Majhi when talks are on," Home secretary U N Behera told reporters while reading out a joint statement issued after the day's talks which remained inconclusive.

Besides Behera, Panchayati Raj Secretary S N Tripathy represented Orissa government during the negotiations, while the mediators were Prof Hargopal and Prof Someswar Rao.

Naxal sympathiser Dandapani Mohanty, whose name had also been suggested by the ultras, joined the negotiation in the post-lunch phase of talks, which would resume on Monday, Feb 21.

Stating that detailed discussion was held in a congenial manner, the joint statement read by Behera said it was agreed that there would not be any combing operation till the negotiations are over.

At the same time, the Maoists would not indulge in any untoward incident, disturbance or road blockade that could hamper the peace process as long as talks are on, the statement said.

PTI

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