Bhubaneswar, Apr.7 (ANI): The Orissa Government on Saturday announced the names of the jailed Maoists to be freed in exchange for the kidnapped Italian hostage.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced the names of the six Maoists to be released here, and reiterated that his government is committed to securing the release of the Italian hostage.
"The negotiators from the Maoist side, that is the mediators for the Sabyasachi (Panda) Group of Maoists had sought for the release of six persons. Again I will repeat for you, those six persons. Firstly Miss Arti Majhi, secondly Mr. Manmohan Pradhan, number three Mr. Suka Nagchika, number four Mr. Chakra Tatdingi, number five Mr. Bijay Tatdingi and number six, the last name, Mrs. Subhashree Das, who as you know is Mili Panda, the wife of Sabyasachi Panda of the Maoists," said Patnaik.
Acting with brazen impunity, Maoists had kidnapped Italian tourists Claudio Colangelo and Paolo Bosusco on March 14 from a remote forest area of Orissa, in what was believed to be the first time the rebels had targetted foreigners.
However, in a surprise move, the Maoists freed one of the two hostages, Colangelo, in Orissa's Ganjam District of the state on March 25.
Bosusco has remained in the custody of left-wing ultras while the Indian and Italian governments have tried their best to secure his release.
The Maoists claim they abducted the two Italians because they were photographing indigenous tribal women while the latter were bathing in a river.
Patnaik further mentioned that five out of the six persons named by the mediators would be released. He, however, said that the legal process would take some time, and as such, the Maoists must reciprocate by releasing the Italian hostage.
"As far as the facilitating of the release of the five persons concerned, our state government, the government of Orissa is taking the appropriate steps, the necessary steps in this matter. But as it involves our judicial system, the judicial system of our country India, the democratic law of India, and also naturally with the judicial system there is legal processes that take place, it will take a little time. It will take some more time," Patnaik said.
While stating that the Maoists should appreciate the efforts of his government, Patnaik also made an appeal for the release of kidnapped Biju Janata Dal MLA Jhina Hikaka.
"I appeal again to the CPI-Maoists to release the Italian national Mr. Paolo Busosco immediately and unharmed. I think all of you know that the Ambassador of Italy and also the Consul General of Italy are here in Bhubaneswar, here in Orissa, anxiously awaiting the release of their countryman Mr. Busosco. And again before you in the media, I appeal for the release of the honourable MLA of Lakhmipur unhurt and in good health," said Patnaik.
Hikaka was kidnapped near Toyaput after a group of armed men stopped him as he was being driven through a hilly area, some 500 kilometres away from Bhubaneswar on March 24.
Despite strong measures initiated by the federal government to crush the ultras, the Maoist insurgency has gripped nearly one-third of the country in its violent tentacles, spreading into the interiors of 20 of India's 28 states.
The guerrilla war, waged mostly from the forests of central and eastern India by the Communist Party of India (Maoist-Leninist), now poses the biggest internal security threat to India, say analysts. (ANI)
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