New Delhi: The Centre is keenly observing the
hostage situation in Odisha and is believed to be against any
swap of prisoners with an abducted MLA and an Italian tour
The Home Ministry is not involved in any way with the
negotiations between the Maoists and the Odisha government as
the latter has not sought any help, but it is in regular touch
with the state government.
Ministry officials feel that due to the inability of the
Odisha government to take tough stand against the Naxals, the
extremists keep abducting prominent people to free their
cadres or sympathisers from jails.
Reports from Bhubaneswar suggested that the Odisha
government decided to release 27 jailed people in return for
the release of BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka and Italian Paolo Bosusco
taken hostage by two separate Naxal groups.
"The Maoists are taking full advantage of the fact that
the Naveen Patnaik government easily succumb to pressure and
it is very easy to get someone released from a jail in Odisha
through kidnapping," an official said.
When the Naxals kidnapped then Malkanagiri collector R
Veenel Krishan along with a junior engineer last year, the
Orissa government agreed to fulfill all 14 demands of the
rebels including withdrawal of cases against top CPI (Maoist)
leaders Prasadam, Padma and Eswari to facilitate their release
Adequate central security forces are stationed in Odisha,
yet the state government has hardly launched any full scale
operations against the Maoists leading to the free-run of the
rebels in many parts of the state.
"Time has come for the Odisha government to stand up and
act tough against the Naxals, else it will have to succumb to
their (Maoists) pressure again," the official said.