The chances of early release of abducted Malkangir collector R Vineel Krishna and junior engineer Pabitra Majhi from Maoist capitiviy brightened on Tuesday with two developments – jailed leader Ganti Prasadam being drawn to the talk process and a court in Malkangiri granting bail to Maoist leader Srinivaslu Ramulu.
The Maoists have sought the release of Prasadam and Ramulu along with some others in exchange of Krishna and Majhi. Home secretary UN Behera, who has been holding talks with the Maoist nominated mediators – civil rights activist G Hargopal, academician R Someswar Rao and social activist Dandapani Mohanty – for the last two days, said that the third day’s discussion hopefully will end the negotiations. “We are progressing well,” Behera said.
Prasadam was brought from the Ongole jail in Andhra Pradesh to Koraput, 600 km from Bhubaneswar, on Monday morning. After taken into judicial custody, he was again brought to Jharpada jail in Bhubaneswar by late night amidst tight security.
“I have to join the interlocutors. I have to take stock of the situation. The common responsibility before us all is to defuse the situation. The impasse should not be allowed to continue for long,” said Prasadam just after arriving in Bhubaneswar.
“Prasadam’s bail plea along with those of some other leaders will be moved in Orissa high court on Wednesday,” his lawyer Prasanta Jena told the Hindustan Times.
Apparently, Prasadam was brought into the discussion process on Tuesday as the mediators met him twice in Jharpada jail – before the beginning of the third day’s talk and after lunch – to apprise him about the progress made on the six key issues, out of the total 14, that were being discussed.
The six issues include demand for release of about 700 people in jail on alleged Maoist activities, for judicial inquiry into recent “fake” encounters and alleged rape of a girl in Gajapati district by some special protection group (SOG) personnel, engaged in anti-Maoist operation.
The eight of the 14 issues reportedly resolved on Monday pertained to the Polavaram project, enlisting two communities as scheduled tribes, scrapping of MoUs with multinational companies, cancellation of bauxite mining lease in Mali and Deomali in Koraput, issue of land patta to tribals in Koraput and Malkangiri and release of two women cadres from jails in Chhatisgarh and Jharkhand.
On the other hand, a fast track court in Malkangiri granted bail to Ramulu on the basis of a personal bond of Rs25,000.
However, he will have to wait for another couple of days as another case was lodged against him on Monday for his alleged involvement in an attack on police in 2005. “His bail plea for the latest case will be moved on Wednesday,” his lawyer Ram Patnaik said.
Meanwhile, Krishna and Majhi spent their seventh day in captivity.