Bhubaneswar (Agencies): Their handpicked mediators however pressed for "more time" for the release of Malkangiri District Collector and an engineer.

"Though Orissa government has stopped combing across the state, joint operation by security forces of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh must be halted," a Maoist leader said in the letter.

On the deadline for fulfillment of their demands for release of 30-year-old Malkangiri Collector R V Krishna, a 2005 IAS officer and junior engineer Pabitra Majhi, the letter said it was for Orissa government to decide when it would meet the demands.

Expressing happiness over Orissa government joining the process of talks to resolve crisis following abduction of Krishna and Majhi on Wednesday, the letter said the hostages were safe and secure.

Meanwhile, the bail plea of Maoist leader Ganti Prasadam, whose release among others has been demanded by Naxals to free the abducted Collector, was rejected after he was brought from Andhra Aradesh and produced before a magistrate here today.

Prasadam was sent to Koraput jail after Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate rejected his bail application, a day after ordering his production before the court, lawyer of the Maoist leader Nihar Ranjan Patnaik said.

Prasadam, convener of Martyrs Friends and Relatives Committee, arrested in November by Koraput police, had been taken to Ongole in connection with a case there and was brought from Ongole Prison in Andhra Pradesh's Prakasam district, where he was lodged since February 7.

He was handed over to police on Saturday evening as Orissa Police had secured a Prisoners Transfer (PT) warrant against him from Koraput SDJM, officials said.

In another development, Naxal sympathiser Varavara Rao said over phone that the Maoists want complete dropping of cases against certain key rebels like Prasadam and S Srinivasulu and not just their release from jails on bail.

He said about 700 tribals, now lodged in jails on charges of being Maoists, should also be freed.

S Srinivasulu, former chief of Revolutionary Writers Association in Andhra Pradesh and senior member of CPI (Maoist), and Padma, wife of a top Maoist leader, were among those whose release has been sought by the Maoists.

The bail application of Srinivasulu is posted for hearing in a fast track Court in Malkangiri tomorrow, the sources said, adding the government seemed to be examining the possibility of facilitating release of certain ultras on bail to resolve the crisis.

A large number of tribals, including women and children on Saturday staged a rally and put up road blockade in Chitrakonda.

Shouting slogans and carrying placards, the protesters marched through the block headquarters town of Chitrakonda enroute to Badapada forests, to mobilise public opinion against violence and ask Maoists to release the hostages.

Malkangiri district OAS Officers' Association also held a meeting presided over by its president Sundarlal Sil and passed a resolution seeking release of Krishna.

Meanwhile, the Maoist-prone Malkangiri district remained cut-off from other parts of the state as its two entry points - one from Gobindpalli ghat and the other from Chitrakonda -remained blocked.

Maoists had blocked the Jeypore-Malkangiri road at Gobindpali Ghat road by felling huge trees since Wednesday, while the local people blocked the road by felling trees along Chitrakonda ghat roads.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the government had already conceded a major demand of the rebels by halting anti-Naxal operations across the state since Thursday while it was open to discuss other demands.

The Orissa Assembly had yesterday adopted a resolution unanimously appealing for the safe release of the hostages.

Besides halt to anti-Naxal joint combing operations, which has already been conceded, the seven-point demands of the Naxals included withdrawal of BSF, release of 700 jailed tribal Naxals and scrapping of Polavaram multi-purpose dam project in Andhra Pradesh.

Meanwhile, Maoists have assured Orissa government that hostages would not be harmed and rebels would refrain from violence as long as negotiations are on.

"The mediators assured us that no harm will be caused to Malkangiri Collector R V Krishna and junior engineer Pabitra Mohan Majhi when talks are on," Home secretary U N Behera told reporters while reading out a joint statement issued after the day's talks which remained inconclusive.