The mediator, Prof G Hargopal, stated that, "Both the Malkangiri Collector and the junior engineer will be freed and will be back within 48 hours." However, they have confirmed about the hostages' safety with government sources claiming that, "the mediators have given us firm commitment on the safe return of the collector and junior engineer."
Previously, it was reported that the Maoists had already freed the two hostages as the Orissa government agreed to most of the demands of the Ultras. Now it appears that the previous information was all amiss, and the people of Malkangiri have to wait for 48 hours which might be more tougher than the last 168 hrs.
The 30-year-old collector R Vineel Krishna and 24-year-old junior engineer Pabitra Mohan Majhi were abducted from the Chitrakonda area of Malkangiri district on Feb 16 when the officer had gone to inspect some development work.
After three days of negotiations between the mediators and the government, the 14 demands of the Maoists were conceded. The interlocutors informed, "The government agreed that there would be no coercive action by security forces as long as the Maoists do not indulge in unlawful activities."
Receiving the sham reports of freed hostages, several people including women, children and media persons gathered around the official residence of the District Collector at Malkangiri town. People, who are waiting at Malkangiri from last night, have expressed their grief over the latest news that they have to wait till Thursday, Feb 24.