Orissa assembly appeals for release of collector, engineer

February 19th, 2011 - 5:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Feb 19 (IANS) The Orissa assembly Saturday unanimously resolved to make an appeal for the safe release of a district collector and a junior engineer abducted by Maoists.The state steel and mines minister, Raghunath Mohanty, moved the resolution which was unanimously adopted.

“The house expresses its deep concern on the issue of abduction. The house unanimously appeals through media for the release of both the persons. This house shares and sympathises the agony and anxiety of their family members,” the resolution said.

R. Vineel Krishna, district collector of Malkangiri, was abducted along with junior engineer Pabitra Mohan Majhi by Maoists Wednesday evening.

The state government Friday requested two human rights activists and academics R.S. Rao and Hargopal to mediate with the Maoists for the safe release of the hostages.

“They are expected to reach Bhubaneswar shortly after which negotiations can start,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a written statement in the house.

Patnaik also appealed to the rebels to ensure that the hostages are not harmed in any way.

Maoists have set several conditions for the release of the two officials, including a halt to the anti-Maoist Operation Green Hunt, the release of all political prisoners, the scrapping of accords with multi-national companies and compensation for the families of Maoist sympathisers killed in police custody.

The rebels had initially given a 48-hour deadline that lapsed Friday evening.

A rebel leader, identifying himself as Bhaskar, secretary of the Andhra-Orissa Border State Zonal Committee (AOBSZC) of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist, late Friday night informed a section of the media that the deadline has been extended by another 48 hours.

The announcement came a few hours after Patnaik appealed to the rebels to extend their deadline.

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