Maoists in Odisha have announced the names of three mediators to hold talks with the government on the two Italians that the rebels abducted on Saturday evening. The Maoists earlier asked the government to respond to their 13-point list of demands by the evening of March 20.
The three are Narayan Sanyal, a veteran Maoist lodged in a Jharkhand jail, Dandapani Mohanty, one of the three mediators to secure the release of then Malkangiri collector R Vineel Krishna last year, and Biswapriya Kanungo, a rights activist and lawyer of Bhubaneswar.
Earlier in the day, Dandapani told HT that he would not like to work as a mediator for the government as he was not treated well last time, when security agencies kept a watch on his movements and indulged in a vilification campaign against him.
Meanwhile, Italian foreign minister Giulio Terzi called his Indian counterpart SM Krishna to enquire about the two, Basusco Paolo and Claudio Colangilo. A ministry spokesperson said, “Krishna provided an update on the situation.”
The Maoists alleged that though they earlier announced a ceasefire, a government source said the central or state security forces had not issued instructions to halt anti-rebel operations in the state so far.
Odisha Minority Forum president Swaroopananda Patra said in a message to Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda: “The recent abduction by your cadres will create unnecessary fear among the people in Kandhamal. The international community had begun to relook at Kandhamal but... you have again rekindled the international focus on Kandhamal as a troubled spot.”
With inputs from PTI