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'I was treated quite well', says Jhina Hikaka

Bhubaneswar , Thu, 26 Apr 2012 ANI

Bhubaneswar, Apr 26 (ANI): Odisha MLA Jhina Hikaka, who was released by the Maoists at a village in Koraput, on Thursday said that he was made to stay in adverse conditions in the forest, but the ultras did not ill treat him.

"I was staying in adverse conditions in the forest but they showed good behaviour towards me. They decided to release me on their Praja court. I did whatever was decided by the Praja court," he said.

Meanwhile, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Prafulla Ghadei condemned the demand of the Maoists wherein they asked Hikaka to quit as the member of the legislative assembly.

"We are all happy today that the young tribal MLA Jhina Hikaka has been released. For the release of the honourable MLA, government particularly our chief minister has made all efforts but a bad precedence is being created, forcible decision, to force somebody to resign particularly elected representative is a bad precedence in the democratic set-up of our country," he said.

Hikaka was released unharmed by Maoists earlier in the day at a village in Koraput, 33 days after he was abducted from the same district by the rebels.

Hikaka was reportedly escorted by a group of tribals to Balipeta village in Maoist-affected Narayanpatna area, where he was believed to have been produced in a Maoist 'praja' court, which agreed to set him free.

He was handed over by the tribals to his wife, Kaushalya Majhi, and a lawyer who fights cases for the ultras and their frontal organisations, Nihar Ranjan Patnaik.

The decision to free Hikaka was taken by a people's court on Tuesday after he gave a written undertaking that he will resign from the state assembly and also try to fulfill the Maoists' demands.

While the Maoists had demanded release of 29 prisoners in exchange for Hikaka's freedom, the state government decided to consider the release of 25 jailed people, including eight Maoists.

The Odisha Government has decided to withdraw cases against 13 jailed ultras, including five Maoists, apart from facilitating the release of 12 through bail, sources said.

Hikaka was kidnapped near Toyaput after a large group of armed men stopped him as he was being driven through a hilly area some 500 kilometres away from Bhubaneshwar on March 24. (ANI)


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