Hikaka writes to Patnaik to meet Maoists' demands
The Maoists on Tuesday fixed April 5 as the deadline for the Naveen Patnaik government to fulfil their demands for securing the release of the ruling Biju Janata Dal legislator Jhina Hikaka, kidnapped on March 24.
Rejecting Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's invitation for holding negotiations, the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of the outlawed CPI (Maoist) demanded that the government release tribal people, including members of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS) jailed for their alleged Maoist activities. The government should accept the demands without adopting delaying tactics, the committee said.
The State government, however, appealed to the abductors to extend their deadline and invited CMAS president Nachika Linga for negotiations, PTI reports. Mr. Patnaik said: “Our government is prepared to hold discussions on the release of certain CMAS members as per their demands.”
Meanwhile, in another letter that was received by the media in Koraput along with a letter from the Maoists, Mr. Hikaka reiterated his appeal to the Chief Minister to fulfil the Maoists' demands to release the innocent tribals for his safe release.
In the hand-written letter, Mr. Hikaka said the government was not concerned about his life as he was a tribal.
Urging the Chief Minister to resolve the issue immediately to enable him to work for the welfare of the people of his constituency, Mr. Hikaka said that if needed he would resign as legislator.
In another development, the negotiations for the release of Italian tour operator Bosusco Paolo are scheduled to continue on Wednesday. Mr. Paolo has been in the hands of a different group of Maoists since March 14.
The State government resumed the talks for Mr. Paolo's release on Monday after the Maoist committee accused it of adopting delaying tactics and not accepting its demands.
In the Assembly, the government faced severe criticism from the Opposition legislators for not taking the required steps for Mr. Hikaka's release.
The 37-year-old tribal legislator was kidnapped while he was returning from Koraput town to his home in his constituency of Laxmipur.