Bowing to Maoists’ demands, the India regional Odisha government has agreed to release 27 people from jails for freeing a legislator and an Italian the outlaws have held in captivity.
“My government today decided to facilitate the release of eight left wing extremists, 15 members of Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS) for freeing legislator Jhina Hikaka,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a statement in the assembly yesterday.
He said that four others will be released, as demanded by Odisha State Organising Committee of CPI (Maoists), for freeing Italian Paolo Bosusco.
Sources said the names of the persons to be released from jails were likely to be announced today.
Bosusco, along with another Italian Claudio Colangelo, was abducted on March 14 while they were trekking in Kandhamal district. Colangelo was released 11 days later.
Hikaka, a legislator of the ruling Biju Janata Dal, was abducted by the members of CMAS , an organization working in southern Odisha on tribal-related issues, in Koraput district on March 24.
He had on Tuesday in a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik threatened to resign if steps were not taken to release him.
Hikaka demanded the immediate release of “innocent tribals who have been branded as Maoists” and sent to jail as this was the “only way he can expect his own release.”
The chief minister however said that the government made efforts for the release of the two hostages and its repeated appeals to free them were rejected.
The government had even invited the Maoist-backed CMAS President Nachika Linga for talks to resolve the hostage crisis, he added.
Source: UCAN India