Orissa govt breached agreement with CPI(Maoist): Mediators



Bhubaneswar: Mediators, who had helped to end the February hostage crisis involving Malkangiri district collector and a junior engineer, on Monday alleged breach of agreement by Orissa government.

"We expected the state government to release innocent tribals lodged at different jails as per the pact. But we are pained to see that the process is yet to begin," Prof G Hargopal, one of the three mediators chosen by Maoists behind the abduction to solve the crisis, said over phone from Hyderabad.

It was expected that the state government would honour its commitment as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had assured the mediators in person and also announced on the floor of the House but though more than a month and a half had elapsed the government is yet to start the process of releasing the innocent tribals, he said.

"The state government must fulfill promises it made during the negotiation," Prof Hargopal said.

Dandapani Mohanaty, another mediator when contacted said, "It was very clearly mentioned in the signed agreement that there would not be any combing operation unless and until there is provocation from CPI(Maoist). Instead of respecting it, security forces conducted combing operations."

He cited instances of alleged breaches of the agreement and said tribals were feeling insecure even in their villages as security forces torture them in the name of containing the Maoist problem.

Mohanty said Special Operations Group (SOG), the specialised anti-Maoist force, had entered Harichandrapur village in Keonjhar district on March 8 and alleged that there was an attempt to rape a girl, who was saved due to protests by villagers.

At this the SOG allegedly fired at the villagers and injured the girl too. The girl later filed a complaint with Orissa Human Rights Commssion on March 19, Mohanty said.

"This shows that repression of tribals and combing operation in violation of the agreement is continuing in almost all parts of Orissa inflicting miseries on the innocent villagers," he alleged.

The Orissa government had agreed to release about 627 tribals lodged in various jails. "But instead of taking steps to do so, the police are arresting more people under some pretext or the other," Mohanty alleged.

Prof RS Rao, another mediator, could not be contacted.

PTI