Orissa Govt meets 8 Maoist demands, confident of early release

Bhubaneswar, Feb 21 (PTI) Conceding eight of the 14demands of the Maoists on the second day of talks with therebel-chosen mediators, Orissa government today said it wasconfident of securing early release of abducted MalkangiriCollector R V Krishna and a junior engineer.

Home Secretary U N Behera said while eight demands of theMaoists were met, final talks on the remaining six conditionswould be held tomorrow.

"I am confident now that both the Collector and juniorengineer Pabitra Majhi will be released very soon," he toldreporters after two days of talks with Maoist-chosen mediatorsfor release of the two abducted on February 16.

Among the issues resolved during the meeting wererecognising Konda Reddy and Nokadora communities as ScheduledTribe, steps for scrapping Pollavaram multi-purpose damproject in Andhra Pradesh, issue of land pattas to tribalswhose land had allegedly been taken away in Malkangiri andKoraput, extension of a canal project in Malkangiri andcompensation to families of two persons who died in jailcustody due to alleged torture in Koraput, he said.

The government would also take steps for the release oftwo central committee members of CPI(Maoist) Sila Di andPadma lodged in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh jails, Beherasaid.

The issue of stoppage of bauxite mining in Mali andDeomali hills in Koraput and Rayagada districts andcancellation of MoUs with multinational companies were alsoresolved.

Talks with the mediators Prof G Hargopal, Prof SomeswarRao and Dandapani Mohanty have "progressed well," Behera said.

"We have been assured by the mediators that Krishna''shealth is fine and there is no cause of concern," he saidadding both the hostages are safe and secure.

In a related development, five hardcore Maoists,including Ganti Prasadam, who has about 100 cases against himin Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, moved the Orissa High Court forbail after a similar plea was rejected by a lower court.

The Maoists, who have sought their release as one of theconditions for safe return of the two, called a bandh to presstheir demand but it evoked little response.

As Krishna, a 2005 batch IAS officer, and Majhi spent thesixth day in captivity, the mediators were keen that certainjailed ultras like Ganti Prasadam joined the negotiationprocess to resolve the hostage crisis.

The release of jailed Maoists was discussed at length,official sources said, adding it was possible that the bailplea of the rebels would not be opposed by the government.


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