BHUBANESWAR: Ending their long silence after kidnapping two Italian nationals, the CPI (Maoist) on Monday evening named three negotiators who would take up the talks on their behalf before the State Government. The three are Narayan Sanyal, Dandapani Mohanty and Biswapriya Kanungo.
Sanyal is a senior Maoist leader lodged in the Giridihi Jail in Jharkhand. Mohanty was one of the three mediators during negotiations for release of the then Malkangiri Collector R Vineel Krishna. Kanungo is a rights activist as well as a lawyer in Bhubaneswar.
While extending the deadline to March 20 evening, the Maoists also announced ‘ceasefire’. In an audio message, top leader Sabyasachi Panda said although the outfit is skeptical of the Government’s measures, it wanted to talk.
He, however, was critical the way the Government went about its response. “Combing operation has not been stopped although the CM has appealed release of the two on humanitarian grounds,” the tape said. Around the time the tape landed, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik informed the Assembly that no coercive action will be taken.
However, for major part of the day, both sides played a game of who-will-blink-first after the rebels sent in a fresh list of demands. The Maoists circulated a 13-point charter of demands which sought, as a pre-condition, combing operation to stop in four districts of Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada and Kandhamal. The statement, issued by Sabyasachi was dated March 16.
The Government, on its part, said they have not received any information about suspending the combing operation as yet. Even if it did, the administration made no announcement.
The State Police had reportedly ascertained that the two hostages __ Paulo Bosusco and Claudio Calengelo __ were safe in the custody of the rebels. “We have got leads on their location but obviously won’t take any action given the sensitivity of the situation. Besides, the Government has already announced its readiness for talks,” official sources said.
While the Government waited for a response, the Maoists took long to name the interlocutors. “The State must withdraw forces and release a few political prisoners to show its real intent. An ideal ambience for negotiation has to be created first,” said Dandapani Mohanty, who negotiated on behalf of the Red rebels during the abduction of IAS officer R Vineel Krishna.
Meanwhile, the 13-point demand circulated by the Maoists called for withdrawal of prohibition on the Maoist party and other mass organisations.