Maoists release Odisha MLA Jhina Hikaka

Bhubaneshwar, Apr 26: After being in Maoist captivity for 32 days, Odisha Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA Jhina Hikaka was released on Thursday morning.

According to television reports, Hikaka was released in the forests of Narayanpatna in the state’s Koraput District.

The decision to free Hikaka was taken by a people’s court on Tuesday after he gave a written undertaking that he will resign from the state assembly and also try to fulfill the Maoists’ demands.

Meanwhile, the lawyer, who fights cases for the rebels and their frontal organisation, the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS), claimed that during the two-day people’s court trial, Hikaka stated that neither the state government nor the legislators had helped him during his captivity and that only the tribals had come to his rescue.

While the Maoists had demanded release of 29 prisoners in exchange for Hikaka’s freedom, the state government decided to consider the release of 25 jailed people, including eight Maoists.

The Odisha Government has decided to withdraw cases against 13 jailed ultras, including five Maoists, apart from facilitating the release of 12 through bail, sources said.

Hikaka was kidnapped near Toyaput after a large group of armed men stopped him as he was being driven through a hilly area some 500 kilometres away from Bhubaneshwar on March 24. (ANI)