Rebels renew deadline by 24 hours

Bhubaneswar: After an appeal by Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to extend deadline for release of abducted Malkangiri District Collector R Vinil Krishna and Junior Engineer Pabitra Majhi, the Maoists on Friday extended the deadline by 24 hours.

The extension of deadline set by the Maoists was informed to OTV this evening by Andhra-Orissa border committee leader Prasad.

Earlier this morning, chief minister had appealed to extend the deadline set by Maoists for fulfilment of their demands for release of the two hostages.

"My appeal to the concerned persons is to extend the deadline of this evening and not to cause any harm to the two hostages," Patnaik told reporters here.

It many be noted that the state government yesterday called off combing operations in naxal-infested districts which was among the demands laid down by the ultras.

On the other hand, Prof Hargopal, who is among the two persons to negotiate with the Maoists, in an exclusive interview to OTV said, Orissa govt should release jailed Andhra Pradesh cadre Maoist leader Ghanti Prasadam and the Maoists should also maintain restraint. The professor also appealed the Maoists not to harm the abducted officials.

Prof Someswar Rao and Hargopal are the two persons who would mediate for release of abducted district collector and Junior Engineer, state chief secretary had informed today.