Bhubaneswar: Maoist-nominated mediators
on Monday refused to issue an appeal to the ultras for early
release of a ruling BJD MLA and an Italian, held captive by
different rebel groups, and instead asked Odisha government to
release "innocent" people jailed on the charge of being Naxal.
"We will not appeal to Maoists for release of the MLA
and the Italian national. The Maoists have already released
one of the two Italians yesterday. It is time for the
government to release innocent innocent people lodged in
different jails on humanitarian ground on humanitarian
ground", mediators BD Sharma and Dandapani Mohanty said
replying to a question.
The mediator duo, who resumed negotiations with the
state government for the release of the Italian hostages,
claimed they had earlier issued such an appeal after which
Claudio Colangelo was freed by the ultras.
"As Maoists have already freed one hostage without any
condition, the government should reciprocate it," Mohanty said
alleging a large number of innocent people were languishing in
different jails after being booked on the charge of being
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, on the other hand, made
at least three appeals during the day for safe release of MLA
Jhina Hikaka and Italian national Paolo Bosusco.
Hikaka`s wife Kausalya Majhi and her two minor sons
were among the hundreds of people in the state who appealed to
the rebels to release the MLA and the foreigner unharmed
without any condition.
Besides rallies and peace marches, people also lit
earthen lamps at different temples seeking safe release of
the MLA and the Italian national.