Bhubaneswar, March 30 (IANS) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Friday said his government needed more time to examine the demands of the Maoists for the release of an Italian and a ruling party legislator.
Patnaik said his government has received the recent demands of the rebels through their two negotiators for the release of Italian Bosusco Paolo, 54, who continues to be in the captivity of the rebels since March 14.
"Since these demands involve further examination, little more time is required by our state government," Patnaik told the assembly.
Paolo was abducted along with another Italian, Claudio Colangelo, 61, from a forested area on the border of state's Ganjam and Kandhamal district.
The rebels last Sunday released Colangelo in a 'good will gesture'. They have been however insisting the government fulfill their 13 demands for the release of the second Italian, including a ban on the visit of tourists to the tribal areas, halt to anti-Maoist operations and release of several prisoners.
Dandapani Mohanty one of the two Maoist-backed negotiators late Thursday said the rebels may release the second Italian if the government fulfils at least three of the demands.
The demands are - release of about 20-25 people already declared innocent by courts but later booked on several false charges, implementation of court order to prosecute policemen responsible for custodial deaths and release tribals booked on false charges.
In the meanwhile, the state government has not made any progress on getting the release of ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) legislator Jhina Hikaka who has been held hostage by another group of leftwing extremists in a hilly area of Koraput district since March 24.
The group which has claimed responsibility for the abduction of the legislator has made more or less the same 13 demands. They have refused to appoint any negotiator on their behalf.
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