Bhubaneswar: The talks between Maoist
mediators and Odisha government representatives began Thursday to resolve the eight-day old crisis triggered by the ultras taking two Italians hostage.
The negotiation began shortly after the arrival of
former bureaucrat and social activist BD Sharma, one of the
nominees of the Maoists to hold talks with state government
mediators, official sources said.
"I am optimistic about the outcome of the talks during
which a wide range of issues are to be discussed," Sharma told
Civil rights activist Dandapani Mohanty also joined
the talks on behalf of the rebels, who had taken Italians,
Puri-based tour operator Paolo Bosusco and tourist Claudio Colangelo, hostage while they were trekking in Kandhamal district on March 14.
The negotiations began without a third mediator from
the rebel side as Maoists did not want to wait.
The state government was represented by Principal
Secretary (Home) U N Behera, Panchayatiraj Secretary P K Jena
and Secretary in ST and SC Department S K Sarangi.
Talks to end the hostage crisis had failed to take off
earlier as the Maoists unable to find negotiators, official
They said earlier two of mediators named by the rebels
had declined to participate.