Bhubaneswar, Apr 4: Odisha Government has bowed down to Maoists demands for securing the safe release of abducted Biju Janata Dal MLA Jhina Hikaka and an Italian from the captivity of the ultras.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today said that his government would facilitate the release of 27 persons, including 8 Maoists.
“My government today decided to facilitate the release eight Left wing extremists, 15 members of Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh for freeing MLA Jhina Hikaka,” Patnaik said in a statement in the assembly.
“Similarly, the release of four others as demanded by Odisha State Organising Committee of CPI (Maoists) would also be facilitated for freeing Italian Paolo Bosusco,” he added.
Patnaik had earlier urged Maoists to release the legislator and another Italian national who are still in rebel captivity. The repeated appeals to free the hostages were, however, rejected.
Boscusco Paolo was kidnapped along with fellow Italian named Clandio Colangilo. The latter was released by the Maoists last month after spending 11 days in captivity.
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 Bhubaneswar on March 24.
Hikaka’s kidnappers have warned that the life of the tribal MLA could be in danger if the government attempts to search or secure his release through a security operation. he statement in Telugu listed demands, including a halt to combing operations and release of several rebels and tribals lodged in jails in Koraput, Malkangiri and Berhampur. Refusing to hold talks through mediators on their demands for release of Hikaka, it asked the state government to make known its stand through media. (ANI)