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Naxals want more to free Krishna

Malkangiri: The Orissa hostage drama is far from over as the Naxals have gone back on their word a day after interlocutors chosen by them arrived at a deal with the state government.

Naxals ideologue Ganti Prasadam wants four others and 300 jailed tribals to be released with him.

The rebels have also demanded the release of zonal committee member Sriramulu before they free Malkangiri collector R Vineel Krishna.

The interlocutors have urged the Naxals to keep their word and not set new conditions and have appealed to the rebels to release the collector by 6 pm on Thursday.

The other hostage, junior engineer Pabitra Majhi, who was released on Wednesday, said Krishna was well.

Mahji finally got freedom after seven nights in Naxal custody and according to reports, the Naxals left him in a remote village, Janatai. The engineer was then brought to Chitrakonda on a motorcycle by two villagers and from there to Malkangiri, the district headquarters. Majhi drove straight to RV Krishna’s residence.

Majhi is said to be in good condition and crucially, for the first time there is first hand information on the well being of Krishna. It was one thing that Majhi reiterated again and again.

For the past six days, the duo were kept together in the cut off area and were constantly being shifted from one hideout to another, and there was no allegation of torture either.

“He (Krishna) is well and will return soon,” said Majhi.

Meanwhile, Naxals have made new demands about the release of their leaders, specifically Sriramulu. The Naxals have demanded the physical presence of the interlocutors.

Ganti Prasadam has refused to accept the bail granted to him, until four other leaders and tribals still languishing in jail are granted bail as well. Interlocutors, however, have said that they will not leave Bhubaneshwar until they see Krishna freed.

“At this stage additional conditions imposed by Naxals will only complicate the matters. They should keep their word and the assurance they gave to government during talks. We have appealed to the Naxals to release the collector by 6 pm on Thursday,” said Prof Hargopal.

Krishna was not as lucky as Majhi to get freedom. It seems the Orissa government now has to convert some of the actionables it has promised into concrete reality before the Naxals keep their side of the barter deal and end the hostage crisis.

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