Talks with Maoists will continue: Odisha govt
Bhubaneswar: Odisha's Home Secretary U N Behera has said the state government will need time to secure the release of two persons still held captive by the Maoists.
Talks between the state government and the rebels have been on for the past ten days, but no breakthrough has been achieved as yet to secure the release of an Italian Paolo Bosusco and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA Jhina Hikaka.
Behera said that the talks will continue.
“Negotiations are on. We are examining the Maoist demands and have apprised the mediators about the position,” Behera said.
Though Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has invited the Maoist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS) to come forward for talks, the rebel outfit is yet to respond.
The Maoists, who abducted Hikaka, have ruled out the appointment of mediators for negotiation.
"While the chief minister invited the CMAS to join talks for the release of the Laxmipur MLA from the captivity of Maoists, there has been no response from them so far," a senior official said.
“However, we hope to hear from them and are waiting. The CMAS should come forward for talks as the demands made by the abductors of the 37-year-old MLA relate to demands made by them,” he added.
“Since the whole issue is highly sensitive, it needs to be discussed face-to-face in order to arrive at a solution," said another official.
Italian Paolo Bosusco, 54, who is a tour operator based in Puri, Odisha, was abducted along with 61-year-old Italian tourist Claudio Colangelo by Maoists while trekking in Kandhamal district on March 14.
Colangelo was released by the abductors on March 25 as a goodwill gesture. Hikaka was kidnapped on March 24 when he was returning home to Laxmipur from Koraput after a political meeting.