Odisha yet to give names of those to be released



Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government, which announced that eight Maoists and 19 others would be released from jail for freeing an abducted legislator and an Italian after pressure from the ultras, was on Thursday yet to announce their names.

The names of these persons, including the eight Maoists, were expected to be announced soon, a senior official said.

"We are waiting for a response from the Maoist groups holding the BJD legislator from Laxmipur, Jhina Hikaka and Italian Paolo Bosusco after it was announced that the state government will facilitate release of 27 persons from jails," the official said.

"Though the Maoist groups are yet to respond to the decision on release of jailed persons, the state government is hopeful about getting some positive information from the abductors of the MLA and the Italian," said another official.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had yesterday said the government would facilitate release of 15 members of the Maoist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS), eight Left-wing extremists (LWEs) and four persons from the list of Odisha State Organising Committee of CPI (Maoist).

Patnaik had also made a fresh appeal to the Maoists to release Hikaka and Bosusco unharmed and in good health. The Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of CPI (Maoist), which was behind Hikaka's abduction, has fixed today as the deadline for fulfilment of its demands, including the release of ultras and CMAS activists.

The other Maoist group holding Bosusco hostage has warned of danger to the Italian if any operation was launched to free him. They have demanded immediate release of seven persons, including Subhashree Das, the wife of top Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda.

Hikaka was abducted in Koraput district on March 24, while Italians Bosusco and Claudio Colangelo were taken hostage on March 14 while they were trekking in Kandhamal district.

The Maoists had released Colangelo as a "goodwill gesture" on March 25.

PTI