Hostage crisis: Negotiation postponed till tomorrow

Bhubaneswar: The meeting between the state Government and mediators for the safe release of abducted Malkangiri Collector R V Krishna and junior engineer Pabitra Majhi was postponed till Sunday, officials said.

The meeting, earlier scheduled to be held tonight, was postponed as the two mediators named by Maoists and contacted by the state government, could not reach here on Saturday.

One of the interlocutors was said to be unwell and so the team failed to reach here, they said.

"We could not go to Bhubaneswar today. We will reach there tomorrow morning," Prof Hargopal, one of the mediators told PTI over phone.

Prof Hargopal said the state government had been informed about the demands of Maoists, who abducted the collector and the engineer from remote Chitrakonda area of Malkangiri district on Wednesday evening.

While preliminary talks were held between the Orissa Government and the mediators over phone, preparatory work was being done by the senior state officials ahead of the crucial negotiations.

The abduction of Krishna and Majhi from remote Chitrakonda area, a Maoist stronghold in Malkangiri district bordering Andhra Pradesh, has drawn widespread condemnation with people from all walks of life staging peace rallies in different parts of the state seeking their early and safe release.