DM kidnap: Mediators, Maoist leader hold talks

Maoist-chosen mediators discussed certain key demands of the rebels with hardcore Naxal leader Ganti Prasadam here on Tuesday, as negotiations for the release of the abducted Malkangiri district collector and a junior engineer reached a crucial stage

Updated: Feb 22, 2011, 11:23 AM IST

Bhubaneswar: Maoist-chosen mediators
discussed certain key demands of the rebels with hardcore
Naxal leader Ganti Prasadam here on Tuesday, as negotiations for
the release of the abducted Malkangiri district collector and
a junior engineer reached a crucial stage.
Soon after Prasadam was brought to the state capital
from Koraput jail amidst tight security, interlocutors Prof G
Hargopal and Dandapani Mohanty met him at the high-security
jail at Jharpada here, official sources said.

"The main objective now is to defuse the situation.
The impasse should not be allowed to continue for long," said
Prasadam, who had expressed the desire to participate in the
negotiation to end the six-day hostage crisis following
abduction of R V Krishna and junior engineer Pabitra Majhi.

"Ganti Prasadam was shifted to Bhubaneswar from
Koraput with the prior permission of local sub-divisional
judicial magistrate on security reason", a senior Koraput
prison official said.

A close aide of top Maoist leader Ramakrishna,
Prasadam has moved a bail petition before the Orissa High
Court along with four other Naxal leaders. The state
government has decided not to oppose Prasadam`s bail, sources
said.
Participation of Prasadam in the negotiations
remained one of the major demands of the Maoists who had
abducted Krishna and Majhi on February 16 from Chitrakonda
area of Malkangiri district.

Prof Hargopal had earlier suggested to the state
government that Prasadam`s release from jail would help in
ensuring safe release of the abducted officials.

Prasadam`s talks with the mediators assumed
significance as it came at a time when negotiation for the
release of the hostages have reached a crucial phase to settle
sensitive and contentious demands like release of Maoists and
tribals jailed on charge of being Naxals.

While eight of the 14 demands of Maoists were settled
on second day of talks between mediators and state government
officials, discussion on the remaining six would hold key to
resolution of crisis, the sources said.

PTI