Why tribals are not freed within 90 days, mediators ask govt

Demanding release of tribals lodged in various Orissa jails without delay, Maoists-selected mediators accused the state government of not keeping its promises.

Last Updated: May 24, 2011, 21:49 PM IST

Bhubaneswar: Demanding release of tribals
lodged in various Orissa jails without delay, Maoists-selected
mediators on Tuesday accused the state government of not keeping
its promises made in the agreement during abduction of the
then Malkangiri district collector R Vineel Krishna.

Among other demands, the state government had agreed
to release around 600 tribals lodged at different jails on
charges of naxal activities in the agreement with mediators in
order to secure safe release of Krishna and junior engineer
Pabitra Majhi who were abducted by Maoists on February 16.

Krishna was finally released safely on February 24,
exactly three months ago, after the agreement was signed
between the state government and the Maoist-selected mediators
here.

"The state government had promised that the process to
release tribals will begin within 15 days from the date of
agreement and free all of them within three months. Though 90
days have already passed, not a single tribal has been
released," pointed out Prof Hargopal, one of the three
mediators.

Prof Hargopal along with Maoist ideologue VV Rao,
Dandapani Mohanty and others were here to meet the chief
minister.

"We will ask the chief minister the reason behind the
non-release of tribals even after three months," Prof Hargopal
told reporters.

"The Government of Orissa will, within a period of
three months, review cases against the tribals held on charge
of Maoists activities and land related dispute in Narayanpatna
area. The process will start within 15 days," the state
government had said in the clause number 13 of the agreement.

While Rao blamed the state government for violating
the agreement by launching attack on rebels, Prof Hargopal
said: "Violation of agreement on coercive action has nothing
to do with release of tribals."

"We want direct reply from the chief minister as to
why tribals are not released despite after 90 days," Prof
Hargopal said.

Among other things, Maoists had demanded immediate
stop of greenhunt operation. However, the state government had
assured that there would be no coercive action by security
forces as long as Maoists refrained from unlawful activity.

Meanwhile, chief secretary BK Patnaik claimed that
the state government had worked on many issues raised by
Maoists in the agreement. "A note will be submitted to the
chief minister on the state government`s action on the
agreement," the chief secretary said.

PTI