Abducted Odisha MLA to be set free

Abducted Odisha MLA to be set free

He has promised Maoists to quit Assembly, BJD

Ordeals for kidnapped Biju Janata Dal (BJD) legislator Jhina Hikaka seems to have come to an end as the Maoist faction responsible for his abduction announced that he will be released on Thursday.

Aruna, a Maoist leader of the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee, in an audio tape released to the local media on Wednesday said Hikaka would be handed over to lawyer Nihar Patnaik who handles legal cases for the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha and the MLA’s wife Koushalya Majhi, at Balipeta village in the Narayanapatna block of Koraput district.

Confirming that the MLA’s fate was decided by a Praja court held inside the forests on Monday and Tuesday, Aruna said: “MLA Hikaka was present at the meeting which was attended by more than hundred and fifty villagers.”
Revealing further information on the proceedings of the court, the Maoist leader said Hikaka will resign from the BJD and the state Assembly to live the life of a “common man.”

“At the Praja Court, the MLA conceded that he had failed to discharge his duties as a legislator and stop the police atrocities in his constituency. Therefore, he would resign from the BJD and quit the MLA’s post to lead the life of a common man. He conveyed his decision in writing to us. We have also kept with us his audio statement,” Aruna said, adding that Hikaka’s statement will be released to the media on Thursday.

Confirming the news, Patnaik said Hikaka had signed an “agreement paper” in this regard.
Speaking on Hikaka’s take on his abduction drama, Aruna, quoting the MLA said: “Neither the government nor the party colleagues took adequate steps to secure his release since he was a tribal.”

Odisha Chief minister Naveen Patnaik said he was aware of the latest audio tape sent to the media by the Maoists. “I once again appeal the Maoists to release the young tribal MLA unhurt and in good health,” he told reporters here.

Reacting to the developments, political observers said if Hikaka indeed quits an active political life, it will deal a major blow to the state government and the BJD.

“We have no other option now but to wait with our fingers crossed. It will definitely be a setback for us if he resigns from the party and the Assembly,” said a senior BJD leader.

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