No news on Odisha's abducted tribal MLA Jhina Hikaka

Though two days have passed since the Maoists abducted ruling BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka, the Odisha government is yet to receive any information on the whereabouts of the young tribal legislator.

"No demand has yet been received from the abductors for the release of this young MLA," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told the Assembly in a statement on the abduction of two Italian nationals and the MLA.

While the police and the state government had no information about the whereabouts of Hikaka, top Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda told a TV channel that a different group was behind the kidnapping of Hikaka.

The Srikakulam-Koraput division of the CPI (Maoist), now headed by Dayanidhi, was suspected to have been behind the abduction of the MLA, police sources said, adding a group of local journalists were in touch with the abductors for the safe release of Hikaka.
Two senior minister S N Patro and ST, SC Development minister Lal Behari Himirika, meanwhile, visited Hikaka's family at Laxmipur in Koraput district.

Sources said the state government was also exploring back channel negotiation with the Maoists as well as leaders of the Naxal-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS) in order to secure safe release of Hikaka.

Hikaka's wife Kausalya and his two minor sons have appealed to the abductors to release him. "My husband has worked a lot for the welfare of tribals. The abductors should release him immediately without delay," Kausalya said.

Hikaka was abducted by unknown ultras while returning from Koraput to his home at Laxmipur at about 1 am of March 24. The opposition Congress blamed the chief minister for the incident.

"Hikaka, who played a leading role in the formation of Zilla Parishad in Koraput district, has been abducted as the state government failed to honour the 10-point charter of demands made by Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS), allegedly backed by Maoists," claimed leader of opposition Bhupinder Singh of Congress.

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