‘Maoists examining appeals for hostage`s release’

Following several appeals by Odisha authorities for the release of Italian national, the Maoists are reportedly considering these requests.

Bhubaneshwar: Following several appeals by Orissa authorities for the release of Italian national Bosusco Paolo, the Maoists are reportedly considering these requests, claimed an interlocutor Dandapani Mohanty.

"Our appeal they (Maoists) are examining; after examination they will decide and whether they will release the hostage or not on this question, they will clarify before the media," Mohanty said.

"I do not think the negotiations have failed. The government of Orissa also took time for certain things and now so are Maoists. We are mediators and all we could do is appeal to them and we have done our due," he added.

Maoists had kidnapped Italian tourists Claudio Colangelo and Paolo Bosusco on March 14 in a remote forest area of Orissa. However, in a surprise move, Maoist freed one of the two hostages, Colangelo on March 25.

Meanwhile, commenting on the abduction of Biju Janata Dal MLA Jhina Hikaka, Mohanty said the case needs no mediator, as the Maoists are directly communicating with the state authorities.

"From the very beginning, it was clear in this case that no mediator like me are needed. They had announced this and written a letter also, they are dealing with it on their own. Earlier the government claimed that Maoist backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh group was the appointed negotiator, however they refused such claims. I do not want to comment any further on this issue," he added.

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.
The 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.