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Orissa hostage crisis: negotiations to begin

Bhubaneswar: The two mediators handpicked by the Naxals to negotiate the release of the Malkangiri district collector and a junior engineer will hold discussions with the Orissa government on Saturday on the demands made by the Maoists.

“Prof Someswar Rao and Prof Hargopal (both from Andhra Pradesh) will reach here today … then we will start discussions on the demands made by the Maoists,” Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a statement in the state assembly here.

The two mediators were handpicked by the Naxals to negotiate the release of 30-year-old IAS officer R V Krishna and junior engineer Pabitra Mohan Majhi.

Noting that the Maoists have extended the deadline for fulfilment of their demands, the chief minister said the government has requested the Naxals not to harm the duo.

The state government has already stopped anti-Naxal combing operations across the state paving the way for negotiations, he said.

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