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Released Italian says he's both happy and sad

Mar 25, 2012 04:30 PM IST India India
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Bhubaneshwar: Released Italian national Claudio Colangelo expressed happiness after being released by the Maoists, but added that he was sad as his friend Bosusco Paolo was still in captivity.

"I am both happy and sad. I am sad that Paolo is still in Maoist captivity. I can't comment on government's role as I had no information on what was happening outside," Claudio, who was handed over to a group of journalists by Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda, told CNN-IBN.

The 61-year-old tourist says that he won't go back to Odisha forests again. "It is not my war to fight," stated Claudio.

Describing the trauma that went on for 12 days, Claudio said that he "never really felt threatened" as the Maoists did not treat them badly. Claudio said that they were treated very well. "The Maoists did their best to treat us as good as possible in the given conditions," claimed Claudio.

Describing the sequence of events that led to his abduction, he said, "We were along a river when we got abducted. They came with guns. I saw three-four of them with guns and they put us down on the ground. They took away our backpacks."

Recalling the horror, Claudio said, "I can't remember how long we walked. We did change locations quite a lot. We were given tents to stay in the night."

Sharing details of the 12-day trauma, Claudio said that he did not like the food given to him by the Maoists.

Expressing his love for the country where he was abducted, Claudio enthusiastically said that he loves India and has been to Rajasthan and Varanasi.

"Life in the jungle is like if you are free then you have a nice life, if not then it's a dull life," stated the Italian.

"I don't fear for Paolo's life. I am hopeful he will be safe," added Claudio.

Claudio, who was not keeping well, was handed over to a group of three journalists near Kandhamal who took him to Surada Police Station. He was subjected to a medical examination at the Irrigation Department bungalow.

The Maoists also climbed down from their 13 demands for the release of the abducted Italians and have put forward just two conditions. Panda did not release Paolo and has demanded that five Maoist leaders including his wife, Subhashree Panda, be released and actions be taken against police officers who are charged with rape, custodial deaths and violence against tribals and villagers.

Claudio was abducted by the Maoists led by Sabyasachi Panda on March 14 along with another Italian Bosusco Paolo and two Indians from Surada Police Station area which comes under the Ganjam District bordering Kandhamal. The two Indians were released soon after they were abducted.

Paolo had been staying in Puri for the last 19 years, running an adventure tourism agency.

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