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Hostage crisis ends: DM, JE released by Maoists

Bhubaneswar: Ending a weak long hostage crisis, Maoists on Tuesday freed the kidnapped Malkangiri district collector R V Krishna and junior engineer Pabitra Majhi. Both Krishna and Majhi will reach home soon, reports say.

A huge crowd gathered outside the collector’s residence in Malkangiri awaiting for the return of the 2005 batch IAS officer. “We are very happy hearing the news. We are wating for his returning of home.”

The news of release of the District Collector and the junior engineer came after the talks between the Orissa government and the Maoists reached a “decisive stage” and the Orissa government agreed to most of the demands of the left ultra.

Orissa government has agreed to follow the due process of law to withdraw cases against five Maoist leaders including Ganti Prasadam and Padma, wife of top Naxal leader Ramakrishna. In addition, the state government has also agreed that no coercive action against Maoists will be taken as long as they do not indulge in violence.

“The hostage crisis is resolved”, state Home secretary UN Behera said.

“The government has agreed that no coercive action will be taken by the security forces as long as the Maoists not indulge into unlawful activities”, said Orissa chief secretary BK Patnaik.

Senior BJP leader and Kendrapada MP BJ Panda said, “A principled and matured decision has been taken in resolving the hostage crisis”.

Twelve Maoists including hardcore rebel leader Sriramalu Srinivasalu got bail by a fast track court in Malkangiri today.

The mediators, Prof R S Rao, Prof Hargopal and Dandapani Mohanty, today consulted the Maoist leader Ganti Prasadam, who was shifted to a special jail in the state capital from Koraput.

“It is the common responsibility before us to defuse the situation,” Prasadam said after reaching here from Koraput.

Participation of Prasadam in the negotiations was one of the major demands of the Maoists who had abducted the two officials on February 16 from Chitrakonda area of Malkangiri district.

The state government was represented by Behera and Panchayati Raj Secretary S N Tripathy. The three mediators went to Jharpada jail for discussions with Prasadam.

Contentious naxal demands like release of Maoists and 700 tribals, withdrawal of BSF and CRPF from Malkangiri and Koraput were discussed at length

While eight of the 14 demands of Maoists were settled between mediators and state government officials yesterday, discussion on the remaining six would hold the key to resolution of the crisis, sources said.

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