Maoists yet to name mediator for consultations to release MLA

The negotiations to secure the release of Italian Bosusco Paolo from Maoists came to a halt on Wednesday after the Odisha government claimed that it had received additional demands from the mediators.

In the case of Biju Janata Dal MLA Jhina Hikaka, the government is still waiting for his kidnappers to name their mediators.

As for Mr. Paolo's release, the talks between officials and two mediators were stopped for the time being after the government said it had received some additional demands. “The examination of these demands may take a day or two,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said.

No fresh demands, say mediators

However, Dandapani Mohanty, one of the mediators, said they had not submitted any new demand. The demands were the same, with certain clarifications. The government seemed to be lacking in genuine interest in the negotiations, he alleged.

Mr. Paolo was kidnapped from Kandhamal district along with another Italian Claudio Colangelo, who has since been released by the Maoists in a goodwill gesture.

In the case of Mr. Hikaka, who was seized from Koraput on March 24 by a different camp of Maoists, the Chief Minister on Tuesday reiterated his request to the kidnappers to suggest the names of their negotiators.

But the Maoists, who earlier said they were not for talks and would release the legislator only after the government met their demands, have not yet suggested names of their negotiators.