Police in Odisha on Friday arrested social activist Dandapani Mohanty, negotiator for release of former Malkangiri collector R Vineel Krishna and two Italian citizens from Maoist captivity in 2011 and 2012 respectively, for his alleged involvement in Maoist activities.
Mohanty (63) was picked up by a team of plain clothes policemen from his residence in Berhampur city in Ganjam district, about 200 km southeast of Bhubaneswar, in the afternoon and later produced before a court in R Udaygiri in neighbouring Gajapati district.
“While there were six non-bailable warrants pending against him, we found his involvement in another eleven cases. All cases are related to Maoist activities,” Gajapati superintendent of police CS Meena told Hindustan Times.
Charges against Mohanty include blasting of telephone towers, harbouring Maoists, collection of money from people in the name of tax for Maoist organisation and involvement in the murder of a person.
On December 5 last year, police had also arrested Mohanty’s son Sangram Mohanty for allegedly supplying arms to Maoists. He is presently in jail.
Mohanty’s wife Gitanjali Mohanty said her husband and son had been victimised by the state government.
“My husband has always been critical of state’s oppression against the tribals and downtrodden people. Our family is paying a price for that,” she said.
Mohanty, a known civil rights activist and convenor of Jan Adhikar Manch, shot to limelight after the abduction of Krishna who was abducted by Maoists in March 2011.
The Odisha government asked him to mediate with Maoists along with two other mediators.
In March 2012, the state government had again chosen Mohanty to negotiate the release of two Italians, Paolo Boususco and Claudio Colangelo, abducted by Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda.
Mohanty, however, had been critical of the government for “not fulfilling promises made during negotiations and arresting and killing innocent people branding them as Maoists”.