Odisha government considering release of rebels

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Maoists
Bhubaneswar, Apr 1: Odisha government today said it was examining release of some rebels as demanded by Maoists and hoped the Italian hostage crisis would end soon, even as the fate of abducted BJD MLA remained unknown with a rebel-backed outfit yet to respond an invitation to join talks.

A day after the two Maoist mediators left giving time for the state government to take a stand on the demands of the ultras, a senior official said, "The whole issue including conditions like release of jailed ultras is being examined." 

As the Maoists have demanded the release of about 40 rebels from different jails, it would take some time to form a view on the issue after a thorough examination, he said adding, "We are examining as to how the process can be initiated."

Expressing the hope that prospects appeared to have brightened for the release of Paolo Bosusco, 54-year-old Puri-based Italian tour operator, another official said the abductors of the Italian are expected to honour the appeal made by their mediators - B D Sharma and Dandapani Mohanty.

The two Maoist mediators left yesterday after 10 days of talks stating that the Odisha government needed time, but promised to be back when needed.

"The issues are complicated and the talks are yet to yield result. Since the government needs more time to examine the demands, we need not wait here. We are returning," they said.

"Whenever the government needs our assistance, we will be back," the duo said, adding, "We appeal to Odisha State Organising Committee of CPI (Maoist) to free the Italian, abducted on Mar 14, on basic human considerations."

Meanwhile, there has been no information about the fate of the tribal MLA from Laxmipur, Jhina Hikaka, who had been abducted from Koraput on Mar 24.

Though chief minister Naveen Patnaik had invited Maoist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS) to join talks and name their negotiators for the release of the MLA, two days ago, there was no response from the Sangha.

While Koraput-Srikalulam Division of Maoists, which owned responsibility for abduction of the MLA, had refused to have talks through mediators, CMAS had earlier claimed that it had no role in the kidnapping. 

PTI 

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