New Delhi: Swami Agnivesh Monday offered to
mediate between Maoists and the Odisha government for the release of two Italians taken hostage by the Left extremists.
Appealing to the Maoists not to harm the Italians, he
said Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should take an
active role in the negotiation process.
"I offer to mediate between the two sides for the release
of two hostages," Agnivesh, who has in the past mediated
between the government and Maoists, said.
He said it was for the first time that the Maoists have
targeted foreign nationals.
Agnivesh noted that the demand raised by them were
similar to the one they raised after abducting IAS officer R
Vineel Krishna last year.
"It means some of the commitments made by the government
had not been honoured. That should not happen now," Agnivesh
The two Italians were abducted from tribal-dominated
Ganjam district of Odisha by Maoists demanding an immediate
end to anti-Naxal operations and release of some of their
The Italian tourists, Bosusco Paolo, functioning as a
tour operator in Puri, and Claudio Colangelo, who were on a
trekking tour on the Ganjam-Kandhamal border, were abducted by
the Maoists yesterday.
As a deadline set by the Maoists for fulfilling their
demands ended last evening, Home Ministry officials here said
that no combing operations have been carried out against
the Naxals after the abduction of the two Italians, as both
the central and state governments wanted to tread cautiously
on the issue.