Malkangiri collector, junior engineer to be released in 48 hrs

Bhubaneshwar, Feb 22 (PTI) Abducted district collectorof Malkangiri R V Krishna and junior engineer Pabitra Manjhiwill be released in 48 hours, a Maoist-chosen mediator saidtoday after the Orissa government gave in to the remainingdemands of the ultras.

"Both the Malkangiri Collector and the junior engineerwill be freed and back within 48 hours," Prof G Hargopal, oneof the three Maoist-chosen interlocutors, told reporters onconclusion of three-day talks with the state government.

The six-day hostage crisis is resolved, state Homesecretary U N Behera said as he noted the government hasagreed to follow due process of law to withdraw cases againstfive Maoists, including Ganti Prasadam and Padma, wife of topNaxal leader Ramakrishna.

The government also agreed that no coercive actionwill be taken by the security forces as long as the Maoistsnot indulge into unlawful activities, he said.

On the demand for release of Naxals like centralcommittee member of CPI (Maoist) Asutosh Sen, SriramuluSrinivasulu, Gananath Patra and Jiban Bose, the Home Secretarysaid the matter would be examined on merit.

While eight demands of Maoists had been settledyesterday, remaining six were agreed to during today''s talks,he said, adding that now the path is clear for release ofMalkangiri collector R V Krishna and junior engineer PabitraMajhi, who were abducted from Chitrakonda area of Malkangiridistrict on February 16. .

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