Maoists set free collector

Two negotiators flown to a Malkangiri forest area to facilitate release

Maoists set free collector

As Krishna’s release by his Maoist captors brought relief to his family members in Hyderabad and Bangalore, the Orissa government and the people of the state, the manner in which the insurgents sought to make more demands on the state administration by not freeing the collector along with junior engineer Pabitra Majhi, as they had promised two days ago, was not lost on security analysts in New Delhi.

Confirming the news, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed his happiness over the development. “I am told by the Malkangiri district officials that Krishna has been released and we feel very happy about that”, he told reporters here.

The Maoists handed over the 2005-batch IAS officer to a group of local journalists and tribal villagers deep inside the forests in Daliamba near Chitrakonda town of Malkangiri district at around 5 pm.

The Naxals abducted Krishna and Majhi from a remote village near Chitrakonda on the evening of February 16, but released Majhi a week later on Wednesday while holding back the collector so it could make more demands on the state government which had earlier agreed to, inter alia, the rebels’ pressure that some of the compatriots be released from jails.

Just before releasing the collector, the Maoists addressed a gathering of local villagers in the presence of Krishna and the journalists.

After holding closed door meetings with government officials throughout Thursday morning, two of the three negotiators – Dandapani Mohanty and Professor Hargopal – left for Malkangiri by a helicopter in the afternoon to facilitate the collector’s release. But before they could reach the district headquarters town, the Maoists had set free Krishna.
Earlier, the three mediators, including Professor Someswar Rao, had said no fresh demands will be entertained and had appealed the Maoists to release Krishna by Thursday evening.

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