BJD legislator Jhina Hikaka might be released by Wednesday evening if Maoists accept the Odisha government's assurance that steps will be taken for withdrawal of cases pending against 25 persons if the hostage is freed.
The government's response came after the Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of the CPI (Maoist) issued a fresh communication to the media on Tuesday, asking it to spell out the steps it was taking to free 29 undertrial prisoners in exchange for Mr. Hikaka's freedom.
“If Mr. Hikaka is released by Wednesday evening, the government will seriously think of withdrawing the cases against 25 persons whose release had been demanded by the Maoists,” Panchayati Raj Secretary P.K. Jena told journalists here. He, however, did not say anything about the other four.
The government earlier it was considering the Maoists' demand for release of four more persons, but no decision was taken till Tuesday evening.
Mr. Hikaka had been kidnapped from Koraput district on March 24.