Maoist mediator Dandapani Mohanty on Saturday started a hunger strike in Orissa’s R. Udaygiri jail. He was arrested by the Gajapati district police at his house here on Friday in connection with 15 cases of Maoist violence pending against him at the Adava station. In six of the cases, non-bailable arrest warrants had been issued.

Mr. Mohanty, who was produced before the Judicial Magistrate First Class of R. Udaygiri on Friday night, was sent to the jail around 1a.m. on Saturday. Jail authorities said he had not taken any solid food. His counsel said a bail petition would be moved in court on Monday. Mr. Mohanty’s wife Gitanjali told journalists that the police were intentionally harassing her family. His son Sangram Keshari has also been imprisoned for his alleged links with Maoists. He was arrested, along with another person, on December 5 last at Kamalapur in Gajapati district for an alleged attempt to transport arms and ammunition to the militants. Mr. Mohanty mediated between Maoists and the State government to facilitate the release of the abducted Malkangiri Collector in 2011 and of two Italian tourists taken hostage in Kandhamal district in 2012.