Odisha hostage crisis: Some Maoists` demands met

Grappling with the twin hostage crises, Odisha said some Maoist demands like halt to combing operations have been met.

Bhubaneswar: Grappling with the twin
hostage crises involving a BJD MLA and an Italian, the Odisha
on Tuesday said some Maoist demands like halt to combing
operations have been met as rebel mediators sought the chief
minister`s immediate intervention for the foreigner`s release.

"The state government has said there would be no
coercive action as long as Maoists did not indulge in
violence," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told the assembly
while making a fresh appeal for the release of MLA Jhina
Hikaka kidnapped by Maoists from Koraput district on March 24.

On halt to combing operations as demanded by Maoists,
Patnaik, however, pointed out that a police sub-inspector was
gunned down in Malkangiri and two policemen were killed in a
landmine blast in Koraput district before Hikaka`s kidnap.
On the release of jailed Maoists, Patnaik said cases
against 83 activists of the ultra-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi
Sangha (CMAS) have been withdrawn.
Meanwhile, there was hitch in negotiations for the
release of the second Italian, Puri-based tour operator Paolo
Bosusco with the Maoist-nominated mediators seeking the chief
minister`s intervention to resolve the issue.

While the extremists freed Italian tourist Claudio
Colangelo as a "goodwill gesture" on Sunday, his compatriot
Bosusco is still in their captivity. The two were abducted in
Kandhamal district on March 14.

Unable to find a a way forward on talks with
government officials on the Italian hostage crisis, the two
Maoist mediators gave a memorandum to Patnaik.

"The memorandum, sent through government negotiators
contains our views on different demands of Maoists. As there
are some difference of opinions over the demands, we sought
the Chief Minister`s intervention," Maoist mediators B D
Sharma and Dandapani Mohanty told reporters after the day`s