Free our beloved Collector: Tribals appeal to Maoists

People from all walks of life staged a peace procession appealig Maoists to release the aducted duo.

Bhubaneswar: "Free our beloved Collector."
"Please release the tribal friendly Collector."
This was an emotional message to Maoists from people
from all walks of life as they took out spontaneous peace
processions in several parts of Orissa on Thursday in a mass
outpouring of concern lending weight to appeals by Chief
Minister Naveen Patnaik and political parties cutting across
party lines.

Intellectuals, lawyers, teachers, school and college
students and housewives staged a procession in the district
headquarter town of Malkangiri protesting against the
abduction of District Collector R V Krishna and engineer
Pabitra Majhi abducted by Maoists.

The silent procession snaked through the town carrying
placards and banners with appeals like "Free our beloved
Collector" and "Please release the tribal friendly Collector."

Appealing to the Maoists, not to cause any harm to the abducted
duo, they said violence offered no solution to any problem.

The mother of abducted junior engineer Pabitra Majhi
broke down and in a choked voice made an appeal to the Maoists
to release her son and also Krishna without causing them any

"I am appealing to the Maoists to release my son as
well as the district collector of Malkangiri," Parbati Majhi

Normal life was affected in the tribal-dominated and
Maoist-hit district as schools, colleges, offices, shops and
business establishments remained closed in a spontaneous
response to the abduction. None had given any call for bandh.

Describing Krishna as a sincere officer who worked
hard for the development of the backward district and welfare
of the poor and tribals, the locals also held an all-faith
prayer meeting for his early release.

Similar peace processions were also organised in
neighbouring Koraput, Jeypore and Rayagada districts.

"The Maoists should not have kidnapped Krishna who had
gone to Chitrakonda area to hear about people`s problems and
find solutions," district collector of Rayagada Nitin Bhanudas
Jawle said while attending a prayer meet.

He said Krishna`s sincerity and commitment towards the
people, particularly tribals, was evident from the fact that
he did not even hesitate to take a bike ride without security
to inspect a culvert.

Describing the abduction as unfortunate, Naveen Patnaik
said the young and energetic "tribal-friendly" IAS officer
was known for his hard work among the poor and tribals.

"The collector has been working hard for tribals. The
poor and junior engineer (Pabitra Majhi) hails from a tribal
family. Therefore, they should be released immediately,"
Patnaik said.

In a statement in the state Assembly, Patnaik said:
"On behalf of this august House, I make a sincere appeal for
the release of the collector and the junior engineer".