Hostage crisis: Talks on, solution likely

BHUBANESWAR: Giving a clear signal on Friday that things are on the right track, the interlocutors for the Maoists expressed the hope that dialogue between the two sides would be wrapped up by

Published: 24th March 2012 05:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:41 PM   |  A+A-

BHUBANESWAR: Giving a clear signal on Friday that things are on the right track, the interlocutors for the Maoists expressed the hope that dialogue between the two sides would be wrapped up by Saturday evening. Talks continued on the second day for over five hours in two sessions. B D Sharma, a civil rights activist, said progress has been achieved and “a final decision is likely by tomorrow.”

Home Secretary Upendra Nath Behera too echoed the view. “We have discussed all the 13 demands and are making progress. We will resume the talks tomorrow.”

To a question if any of the two Italians has been released, Behera said no such thing has happened.

Sharma said the Government’s response has been positive and hopefully, an outcome will be reached by tomorrow, but he refused to commit if the two hostages can be released by Saturday.

Ten days after the two Italian nationals __ Paolo Bosusco and Claudio Colangelo __ were abducted, the two sides appeared satisfied with the progress of the talks which started at 12.45 pm and concluded at about 2 pm in the pre-lunch session. The three senior IAS officers __ Behera, Panchayati Raj Secretary P K Jena and SC and ST Development department Secretary Santosh Kumar Sarangi __ returned to the discussion table at about 4.30 pm and continued the talks for another three hours.

Sharma, a former IAS officer, said there was no point elaborating the issues which were discussed since most of the demands placed by the Maoists were inter-related. Some of the major demands of the CPI (Maoist) include release of imprisoned cadres, action against security personnel involved in torture of tribals and end to combing operation.

“There are issues which are emerging and there is consensus on certain points. That is the reason why we are continuing with the discussions,” he said. The two interlocutors also made it clear that there will be no need for a third negotiator.

Earlier, Dandapani Mohanty, the other negotiator, had demanded on behalf of the Maoist Party that either Kobad Ghandy, Amit Bagchi or Narayan Sanyal, three politburo members of CPI(Maoist), be brought to Bhubaneswar’s Special Jail to take part in the negotiation process.

However, the demand seemed to have been refused by the State Government given the current status of the three __ all of whom are behind bars. Sharma said the inclusion of a third interlocutor is not on the agenda of the discussion.

Mohanty too expressed satisfaction over the talks and was hopeful of a consensus by Saturday and said the two Italians are in good health. They, however, said the killing of a police officer in Malkangiri on Thursday did not have any impact on the dialogue process.

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