No headway has been made in the abduction case of two Italian tourists by Maoists in the tribal-dominated Ganjam district of Odisha [formerly Orissa] by Maoists, police said.
However their two Indian assistants were released by the Maoists Sunday.
The Italian tourists, Bosusco Paolo, functioning as a tour operator in Puri, and Claudio Colangelo, were on a trekking tour on the Ganjam-Kandhamal border,when they were abducted, Odisha Chief Secretary B K Patnaik told reporters in Bhubaneswar Sunday.
State Home Secretary U N Behera said “according to information available with the state government the abducted tourists are safe.”
However, he said that there was still “no information on the whereabouts of the abducted Italian tourists.”
Maoists, who claimed responsibility for the abduction, alleged the tourists were taking objectionable photographs of tribals.
The Maoists are demanding release of their jailed colleagues and implementation of the 13-point charter of demands with the state government following the kidnapping of the then Malkangiri district collector R Vineel Krishna in February last year among other things.
Appealing to the Maoists to release the two Italians, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said his government was open to “any kind of negotiation under the law”.
The Italian tourists had come from Puri by a vehicle and had ventured into the forested area despite being warned of the Maoist menace by the Daringibadi police station, police officials said.
Meanwhile, a report from Puri said that the released driver, Kartik Parida, and the cook of Paolo, Santosh Maharana were being interrogated by the police.
Source: UCAN India