Odisha to release 27 persons for release of MLA, Italian

Bhubaneswar, Apr 4: Bowing to Maoists' demands, for securing the release of a BJD MLA and an Italian from the ultra-Left activists' captivity, Odisha government today said it would facilitate the release of 27 persons, including 8 Naxals, from jails.

"My government today decided to facilitate the release of eight Left wing extremists, 15 members of Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh for freeing MLA Jhina Hikaka," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a statement in the assembly.

Similarly, the release of four others as demanded by Odisha State Organising Committee of CPI (Maoists) would also be facilitated for freeing Italian Paolo Bosusco, Patnaik said.

He said the government made efforts for the release of the two hostages held by two separate groups of Maoists and its repeated appeals to free the jostages were rejected. The government had even invited the Maoist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh President Nachika Linga for talks to resolve the hostage crisis involving Hikaka, Patnaik said.

The hostages were still in Maoists' captivity as the abductors did not want negotiations, he said. Sources said the names of the persons to be released from jails were likely to be announced tomorrow.

While 37-year-old Hikaka was abducted by Maoists in Koraput district on Mar 24, Paolo Bosusco was kidnapped along with another Italian Claudio Colangelo while they were trekking in tribal Kandhamal district on Mar 14.

Colangelo was freed by Maoists as a "goodwill gesture" on Mar 25.


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