Bhubaneswar, Feb 21 (IANS) Five hardcore Maoists, including ideologue Ganti Prasadam, moved a court for bail in Orissa Monday as the state authorities held talks with mediators for the safe release of a district collector and another official held hostage by the rebels for the past five days.
According to a defence lawyer, those who have filed the bail petition through their lawyers in the high court in Cuttack, 25 km from here, included Prasadam whose release was sought by the mediators to resolve the crisis.
The district collector of Malkangiri, R. Vineel Krishna, and junior engineer Pabitra Mohan Majhi, were abducted by Maoists Feb 16 evening.
The Maoists have made several demands for their safe release, including halting of anti-Maoist operations, release of all political prisoners, the scrapping of accords with MNCs and compensation for the families of Maoist sympathisers killed in police custody.
The government which halted anti-Maoist operations a day after the abduction has been negotiating since Sunday with the three mediators – Dandapani Mohanty and academicians G. Haragopal and R. Someswar Rao – chosen by the rebels.
The government began the process for the release of some top Maoists following a demand by the rebels and after mediator Haragopal said the release of Ganti Prasadam will speedup the dialogue process.
According to sources, state police secured a prison transfer warrant from a court and have already brought Prasadam from a jail in Andhra Pradesh Saturday night.
The petition was moved in the high court after a lower court Saturday rejected his bail petition.
The state officials refused to make any comment on the matter, but an expert said the government lawyer may not oppose the bail petitions of Prasadam and other Maoists to facilitate the negotiation process.
After that it depends on the court as it is the prerogative of the judge to decide if he wants to grant bail or not, he said. “The high court however has not yet taken up the bail petitions,” petitioners’ advocate P.K. Jena said.