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'Can't be blackmailed on Odisha crisis'

Bihar,Politics,Terrorism, Mon, 02 Apr 2012 IANS

Patna, April 2 (IANS) Condemning the kidnapping of an Italian and a legislator by Maoists in Odisha, Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh said Monday that the government is not going to be blackmailed by the ultras.


"It needs to be condemned by everybody. We are not going to get blackmailed by Maoists," Singh told reporters here.


"We are in regular touch with the Odisha DGP and chief secretary and have promised to provide them with whatever assistance they need," he said.


He said the state government has started some negotiations with interlocutors on the side of the Maoists.


Maoists abducted an Italian tour operator Bosusco Paolo, 54, along with another Italian, Claudio Colangelo, 61, March 14 from a forested area on the border of Ganjam and Kandhamal districts. The rebels March 25 had released Colangelo in a 'goodwill gesture'.


The rebels were insisting the government fulfil 13 demands for the release of Paolo, including a ban on the visit of tourists to tribal areas, a halt to anti-Maoist operations and the release of several prisoners. It is not clear if the government has agreed to fulfil any of the demands.


Ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) legislator Jhina Hikaka 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 demands. They have refused to appoint any negotiator on their behalf.


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