Odisha: Uncertainty over hostages’ release

Last Updated: Monday, April 9, 2012 - 15:22

Bhubaneswar: As the deadline set by the
abductors of BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka and Italian tour guide Paolo Bosusco ends tomorrow, the chances of an early solution to the
twin hostage crises in Odisha appeared to have receded with both the Maoist groups placing new conditions for the duo`s release from captivity.

While the release of Italian Paolo Bosusco became
uncertain with the Maoists asking the state government to
`clarify` how many ultras would be freed, another group of
Naxals holding Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka hostage also wanted
immediate release of 30 people.

A day after the Maoist group holding the 37-year-old
MLA hostage asked his wife to reach a village in Koraput
district tomorrow along with 30 freed prisoners for release of
Hikaka, the state government today remained tight-lipped on
the issue.

In a letter released last night to the media, the
Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of the Maoists
not only sought an immediate release of more number of
prisoners, but also their physical presence for the MLA`s
release.

The ultras wanted Hikaka`s wife Kaushalya to reach
Balipeta in the Naxal-hit Narayanpatna area tomorrow along
with 30 rebels, including 23 people whose release the Odisha
government had decided to facilitate and seven more rebels.
The letter, bearing the name of a senior Maoist leader
and addressed to the media, said the MLA`s wife should also be
accompanied by two Naxal-nominated mediators - B D Sharma and
Dandapani Mohanty - engaged in the Italian hostage crisis
and Koraput-based lawyer Nihar Ranjan Patnaik.

One of the Maoist-nominated mediators B D Sharma had
meanwhile left the state capital for Delhi.
The Maoists said they would hand over the abducted
MLA to them, provided they do not bring along any police or
intelligence official.

The letter came a day after the Maoists extended the
deadline for fulfilment of their demands till April 10. They
had initially fixed April 5 as deadline and then extended it
till April 7.

PTI



First Published: Monday, April 9, 2012 - 15:22

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