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Odisha: MLA to be produced in people's court again

Naxals have released a fresh tape extending the deadline for the release of abducted Jhina Hikaka to April 25.

News18test sharma |

Updated:April 20, 2012, 12:20 PM IST
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Odisha: MLA to be produced in people's court again
Naxals have released a fresh tape extending the deadline for the release of abducted Jhina Hikaka to April 25.
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Bhubaneswar: There has been no resolution yet to the hostage crisis in Odisha. Naxals have released a fresh tape extending the deadline for the release of abducted BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka to April 25. Hikaka will be presented again in people's court on April 25.

The Maoists have asked the government to free jailed cadres to secure Hikaka's release. The Odisha government had said it would withdraw cases against 13 prisoners in exchange for freedom of the tribal legislator.

Earlier on Thursday, the 37-year-old Laxmipur MLA was produced before the praja court and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said many people, mostly tribals, were called for recording of their statements.

The praja court was held a day after the deadline set by the Maoists for fulfilment of their demands expired at 5 pm on Wednesday and the ultras said in a message that the MLA's fate would be decided through this process.

Bowing to demand by Maoists, the state government had also announced that it was ready to withdraw prosecution against 13 prisoners, including five Maoists, for securing the release of Hikaka, who was abducted by the Naxals on March 24.

"It has been decided to take steps for withdrawal of prosecution against 13 persons following the due process of law," Home Secretary UN Behera had said.

The Maoists had demanded that cases of those to be released should be withdrawn and had declined to seek bail as suggested by the state government.

The ultras had dropped the name of hardcore Maoist Chenda Bhusanam alias Ghasi, accused in the killing of 55 policemen, from the list of rebels sought to be freed in exchange for the legislator.

They wanted the lawyer and the MLA's wife Kaushalya to accompany the freed rebels to Balipeta to Narayanpatna area in Koraput district for a hostage-prisoner exchange.

Meanwhile, Ghasi had in a message appealed to the Naxals to release the tribal legislator without further delay on humanitarian ground without causing any harm.

"When the government has proactively taken steps as a goodwill gesture to declare withdrawal of prosecution against 13 persons, I think they should be satisfied and should take appropriate steps to free the MLA," Behera said.

Seven members of the Maoist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS), had applied for bail with four being granted it, the home secretary said adding the bail of the remaining would be filed soon.

The state government had earlier decided to facilitate release of 25 persons, including eight Maoists and 17 members of the Naxal-backed CMAS for freeing Hikaka.

The MLA's wife had made a fresh appeal to the Maoists to free Hikaka without harming him. Appeals were also made by the government.

Meanwhile, a retired army officer approached the Supreme Court on Wednesday to restrain the Odisha government from meeting the demand of Maoists for releasing jailed rebels.

(With additional information from PTI)

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