Agnivesh appeals to Maoists to release Malkangir collector

Thursday, February 24, 2011

BHUBANESWAR - Social activist Swami Agnivesh has appealed for the release of Malkangir collector R Vineel Krishna, after the Maoists came up with new demands.

After extensive negotiations between the government and the captors, Krishna was meant to be released on Tuesday night along with junior engineer, Pabitra Majhi, who too had been kidnapped from Malkangiri on February 16.

However, the Maoists now say they will hold on to Krishna till they get custody of five of their leaders who are currently in jail.

Agnivesh said that it is good that they had released junior engineer Pabitra Majhi.

“Now they should honour their commitment and release Malkangiri collector Krishna as per the deadline set by the mediators,” he said. He added that he had full faith that the Maoists would release him on Thursday.

The new demands were conveyed in a letter sent through Pabitra Majhi, who returned home on Wednesday evening after being released by the Maoists near the Ambadoli village of Chitrakonda District.

Three mediators appointed to interface with the Maoists had earlier been told that Krishna would also be released on Wednesday. But in the letter, the Maoists said they wanted their leaders to be handed over to them in Malkangiri.

The mediators reiterated on Thursday that Maoists’ further demands were not acceptable.

Meanwhile, Orissa Home Secretary UN Behera said, “The mediators’ appeal on Wednesday must have reached them. I hope they will release Krishna on Thursday.”

The week long hostage crisis came to an end after the state government gave in to all the 14 demands and agreed to withdraw cases against five Maoist leaders, after three days of hectic discussions between the government and Maoist nominated mediators; G Hargopal, R Someswar Rao and Dandapani Mohanty. (ANI)

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