Odisha hostage crisis: Naxals make more demands
The Naxals are ready to free BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka on Tuesday if 28 prisoners are released.
Bhubaneswar: A new twist in the hostage crisis has been playing out in Odisha. The two Naxal outfits have made more demands in exchange for the release of BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka and Italian national Paolo Boscusco. This came even after the government bowed down to their demands earlier.
The Naxals holding MLA Jhina Hikaka captive have sent a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik agreeing to free him on Tuesday if 28 prisoners are handed over to them. They said will hand over the MLA to his wife in the presence of mediators.
The letter, bearing the name of a senior Naxal leader and addressed to the media, said the MLA's wife should also be accompanied by the two Naxal-nominated mediators - BD Sharma and Dandapani Mohanty - engaged in the Italian hostage crisis and Koraput-based lawyer Nihar Patnaik.
The Maoists said they would hand over the abducted 37-year-old Laxmipur MLA to them provided they do not bring along any police or intelligence officials.
When contacted, Hikaka's wife said she was not aware of any communication from the abductors of his husband. "It must have been sent to the media," she said, appealing to the Maoists to release her husband unharmed and in good health.
Meanwhile, Naxal leader Sabyasachi Panda who has held Italian tourist Paolo Boscusco captive has said that the government must release all seven Naxals mentioned on his list of demands.