Odisha hostage crisis worsens

Odisha hostage crisis worsens

Accept 3 demands in 4 days: Naxals

Odisha hostage crisis worsens

The double hostage crisis in Odisha worsened further on Friday with the Maoists’ faction responsible for the kidnapping of Italian national Paolo Bosusco threatening to kill him while rejecting the state government’s offer to release some of their imprisoned associates for the foreigner’s freedom.

In a press statement issued to the local media through an audio tape, Sabyasachi Panda alias Sunil, the secretary of the Maoists’ Odisha state committee and the brain behind the Italian’s abduction, gave an ultimatum to the Naveen Patnaik government to accept their three main demands within the next four days or prepared to face the consequences.

“We give the state government 96 hours to fulfill at least three of our main demands otherwise we will be forced to take the extreme step for which only the government should be held responsible”, Panda warned clearly hardening his stand.

Elaborating on the three demands, the top Maoist leader said though he had sent seven names for their immediate release from the prisons, the list announced by the chief minister contains only three of them. Patnaik on Thursday evening, had announced the names of four persons who would be set free in exchange of Italian Bosusco’s release.

According to Panda, the fourth name was not in the list sent by him. “We want all the seven persons in our list to be released from the prisons immediately,” he said.
Besides demanding the immediate action against the policemen and other security personnel involved in the alleged cases of atrocities against innocent tribal villagers and women Maoist cadres, Panda also wanted  withdrawal of the ban order imposed on the CPI(Maoists) and their front organisations.

Accusing the state government of turning its talks with the two Maoists’ appointed interlocutors into a big farce, Panda said he wanted a formal agreement be signed between the government and their Maoists’ mediators on the demands accepted by the former which had not been done.

Panda’s hardened stand has certainly put the state administration in a stickey wicket so far as ending the hostage crisis is concerned. Reacting to the Maoist leader’s statement, chief secretary Bijoy Patnaik said, the audio tape released by Panda was being examined.

Earlier on Friday morning, the three government mediators -- Home Secretary U N Behera, Panchayati Raj Secretary P K Jena and Secretary to the Department of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Santosh Sarangi --met the two Maoist interlocutors in the state guest house here and held a 45 minutes discussion with them.

The two naxal negotiators, B D Sharma and Dandapani Mohanty, said it was up to the Maoists to take a final call on the chief minister’s announcement.

Chief minister Patnaik had also announced to release eight left wing extremists and 15 members of Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha(CMAS).

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