Maoists to release hostage in 'democratic' way, says Sabyasachi Panda

   Apr 11, 11:40 am

Bhubaneswar, Apr 11 (ANI): Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda on Wednesday said they would release Italian national Paolo Bosusco, who was abducted nearly a month ago, in a 'democratic' way.

According to TV reports, in an audio message released today, Panda said he has received a joint statement by the Odisha government and the Maoist-nominated mediators on the issue.

Panda's audio message comes a day after the expiry of the deadline set by him for the government to meet his demands.

Earlier, Odisha Police Association (OPA) threatened to boycott anti-Naxal operations if hardcore Maoists are freed by the state government in a bid to end the hostage crisis.

"We will oppose tooth and nail any move to free hardcore Maoists. If necessary, we will launch a vigorous agitation to prevent their release," OPA President Sawarmal Sharma told reporters

Odisha Government had earlier announced the names of the 27 persons, who will be released in exchange for the abducted Biju Janata Dal MLA Jhina Hikaka and an Italian from the captivity of the Maoists.

Bosusco Paolo was kidnapped along with fellow Italian named Clandio Colangilo. The latter was released by the Maoists last month after spending 11 days in captivity. Hikaka was kidnapped near Toyaput after a large group of armed men stopped him as he was being driven through a hilly area some 500 kilometres away from Bhubaneswar on March 24.

Hikaka's kidnappers have warned that the life of the tribal MLA could be in danger if the government attempts to search or secure his release through a security operation.

The statement in Telugu listed demands, including a halt to combing operations and release of several rebels and tribals lodged in jails in Koraput, Malkangiri and Berhampur. Refusing to hold talks through mediators on their demands for release of Hikaka, it asked the state government to make known its stand through media. (ANI)

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