Orissa agrees to talks with Maoists for official’s release

February 17th, 2011 - 9:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Feb 17 (IANS) The Orissa government Thursday evening said it is ready for talks with the Maoists for the release of the Malkangiri district collector abducted by the rebels a day earlier.”The government is ready to hold dialogue on the matter,” state Home Secretary U.N. Behera told reporters.

“Instruction has been issued to halt all combing operations in the state,” he said.

Behera said the discussion can be held at district level or at state level in the home department.

“The abductors can hold discussions with us through their representative,” Behera said. He also said the government has kept all options open.

Referring to a proposal made by social activist Swami Agnivesh on some television channels to mediate between the government and the Maoists, Behera said the government has contacted him and requested him to facilitate the negotiations.

Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer R. Veenel Krishna was kidnapped from the Chitrakonda area in Malkangiri district along with junior engineer Pabitra Mohan Majhi by around six rebels Wednesday evening.

Giving a 48-hour ultimatum, Maoists have demanded a halt on combing operations and release of the rebels arrested in the past if the government wants to see the abducted officials free.

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