Bhubaneswar, March 28: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Wednesday said negotiations with the two Maoist-backed mediators to secure the release of an Italian still in captivity could get delayed as the rebels have raised new demands.
He said the government has received some additional demands from the Maoists backed mediators for the release of Paolo Basusco.
“They are now being examined. The examination of these demands may take a day or more,” Patnaik told reporters without disclosing the detail of the new demands.
On the other hand, tribal expert B.D. Sharma, one of the Maoist mediators, refuted Patnaik’s claim, saying they have not placed any new demand.
He said the demands they raised during their talks with three officials representing the government were the same which the rebels have been demanding from the beginning of the Italians abduction.
The rebels had abducted Paolo, 54, and Claudio Colangelo, 61 from a forested area on the border of state’s Ganjam and Kandhamal district on March 14.
The rebels however Sunday released Colangelo in a “goodwill gesture” but kept Paolo, a day after another group of left wing extremists kidnapped ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) legislator Jhina Hikaka in a hilly area of Koraput district.
Maoists have been asking the government to fulfill 13 demands for the release of the second Italian including a ban on the visit of tourists to the tribal areas, halt to anti-Maoist operations, and release of several prisoners.
The points raised by the group which claimed responsibility for the abduction of the legislature is more or less the same.