district collector and engineer kidnapped by Maoists in Orissa
last week are safe and will be back at home in 48 hours as the
state government had agreed to all the guerrillas' demands,
officials said Tuesday.
"We expressed our satisfaction at the outcome of our mediation,"
said G. Haragopal, one of the three mediators chosen by the
rebels, adding that the mediators were working on the modalities
for the hostages' release in the next 48 hours.
The announcement came after state Home Secretary U.N. Behera and
Panchayati Raj Secretary S.N. Tripathy held talks with the
negotiators Dandapani Mohanty and academicians G. Haragopal and R.
Someswar Rao at a state guest house here for hours.
"We agreed on all 14 issues," Behera told reporters Tuesday.
"Now that all issues have been resolved, the mediators have given
us firm commitment on the safe return of the collector and junior
engineer," he said.
Malkangiri District Collector R. Vineel Krishna and junior
engineer Pabitra Mohan Majhi were abducted by the Maoists Feb 16.
The Maoists, in a letter to the government, listed their demands
for the safe release of the two hostages.
These included halting anti-Maoist operations by security forces,
release of all political prisoners, scrapping of accords with MNCs
for land transfer and projects, and compensation for the families
of Maoist sympathisers killed in police custody.
The government stopped anti-Maoist operation Feb 17 and Monday
agreed to eight of their 14 demands, mostly relating to human
rights violations and displacement by various development
A Maoist was also granted bail in a case by a local court Tuesday.
Maoist Srinivas Srimanulu is currently lodged in a jail in
Malkangiri district, and is facing several charges.
"He got bail only in one case," a senior state police officer told
IANS after the proceedings in the Malkangiri court. "He will still
be inside jail as four more criminal cases are pending against
The release of Srimanulu was one of the several conditions the
rebels had made to speed up negotiation for the safe release of
the hostages, sources said.
It was not yet known if the government has any role in the
release, but the development was seen by many as a step to
facilitate the negotiation.
Hours before the dialogue began Tuesday, two mediators met a top
Maoist leader who was brought to a jail here to speed up
"A special police team brought Ganti Prasadam from a jail in
Koraput to Bhubaneswar by road. Prasadam reached here early
Tuesday. He has been kept in the city's Jharpada jail," a senior
police officer told IANS.
"As soon as he arrived, two of the mediators met him in jail and
held discussions with him," he added. Haragopal and Mohanty met
The presence of the Maoist ideologue, who has been facing several
charges in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, was sought by mediators
negotiating with the government for the safe release of the
According to sources, the state police secured a prison transfer
warrant from a court and brought Ganti Prasadam from a jail in
Andhra Pradesh Saturday night.
His lawyer Monday moved a bail petition in the Orissa High Court
in Cuttack, 26 km from here.
The government lawyer may not oppose this bail petition to
facilitate the negotiation process.
"The court is likely to take up the petition for hearing
Wednesday," a senior police officer said.
After that, it depends on the court as it is the prerogative of
the judge to decide if he wants to grant bail or not, an expert
said. Along with Prasadam, four other Maoists also Monday moved
their bail petitions in the high court.