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Not subjected to any assault in Maoist captivity

(image) Malkangiri: Affirming he was not assaulted in Maoist captivity, Malkangiri District Collector RV Krishna, released after being held hostage for nine days, on Thursday night said that he came back because of the tribals who had showered him with all the love and affection.

"There was no physical or mental torture on me or the junior engineer Pabitra Majhi when we were held captive by the Maoists", the 2005 batch IAS officer said adding his abduction was a surprise.

The 30-year-old, who was accorded a warm welcome by people from all walks of life all along the road from Chitrakonda to the district headquarters town following the end of his nine-day captivity, said he felt indebted to the tribals for being lavished with all love and affection.

Recollecting the hours when he was taken hostage, Krishna said "after attending a public interaction camp at Badapada, I had gone to inspect a development scheme at an interior pocket when some people surrounded me. They told me that I and Majhi were being abducted."

Asserting that he was treated well by the ultras, Krishna said there was "not much" problem in the Maoist camp.

"They gave me the same food they were having", the IIT graduate-turned IAS officer recalled.

The menu for lunch and dinner was mostly rice and dal, the collector said adding he was confined in a cut-off area and was shifted from one camp to another.

"I was thinking of development of tribal people during my nine-day stay in the capitivity", Krishna said to a question about his state of mind as a hostage. He felt that the abductors released him to solve problems faced by tribals in a backward district like Malkangiri, Krishna added.

While addressing tribals at the Maoists`s `People`s court` where he was released in the presence of the media, Krishna referred how in the course of his 11 months as Collector of Malkangiri, he had taken several steps for the welfare of people.

"I went to a cut-off area because many government officials are reluctant to go there due to the difficult terrain and inaccessibility", he said.

Krishna, who was garlanded by tribals at villages on way to Malkangiri, said many work in the remote area had been hampered as government employees were often scared of visiting Naxal-prone zone.

He claimed his visit to the Maoist zone was to motivate the government officials and others.

Meanwhile celebrations began in Malkagiri on Thursday night following the release of Malkangiri District Collector as his family members thanked the Naxal-chosen mediators, the people as well as the rebels for ending the nine-day hostage crisis.

Distributing sweets and bursting crackers, the family members of the IAS officer were overwhelmed with joy as Krishna returned safely after spending nine days in the captivity of Maoists.

"We are thankful to the mediators for the all-out efforts they made to ensure the release of Krishna…the release was possible by the deadline", said a relieved R Rambabu, father of Krishna.

Rambabu, who had arrived in Malkangiri following Krishna`s abduction, thanked the people of Orissa and the state government for the support they extended ever since the collector and junior engineer Pabitra Majhi were kidnapped on February 16.

"I am also thankful to the Maoists for showing the humane side. I am told they also treated him (Krishna) well", he said adding, "I understand Krishna is in good health though he seems to be a little fatigued."

As the family members, including Krishna`s wife, were beaming, thousands of locals gathered outside the collector`s residence to have a glimpse of the released officer.

A big crowd, which included a large number of tribals, women and children, raised slogans with many of them dancing to drum beats as Krishna reached his residence.

"I am happy to see the collector who is back safely after nine days in the captivity of Naxals", said an old tribal as his son set off crackers.

Krishna is popular among tribals and has been working with dedication for the welfare of the poor and the downtrodden, said Ratnakar, a young writer.

"I have been waiting for hours to have a glimpse of the collector. Now I am glad to see him", said a young college student.

Life in tribal-dominated Malkangiri district came to a grinding halt after Krishna`s abduction with spontaneous shutting down of shops, business establishments, offices and schools and colleges.

People from all sections of society had taken out rallies across the district seeking his safe release.

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