The Maoist abductors of Odisha legislator Jhina Hikaka on Friday said they would organise a people's court on April 25 to take a final decision on his release.
Mr. Hikaka would be released only if the people's court takes a decision to this effect, the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of the outlawed Communist Party of India(Maoist) said.
In a communication issued to the media in Koraput, the Maoists rejected the Naveen Patnaik government's decision to withdraw cases against 13 persons.
The Maoists demanded that the government should accept their demand for withdrawal of cases against 29 persons and not 13 as it had decided in order to ensure the release of Mr. Hikaka.
The 29 persons include 25 whose release the government had earlier agreed to facilitate, and four others whose release the Maoists had demanded at a later stage. The four include Gananath Patra, advisor to the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS).
The Maoists issued the statement soon after a section of the media reported in the morning that Mr. Hikaka had been released, according to Nihar Ranjan Patnaik, counsel for several Maoists and many activists of the CMAS.
Mr. Patnaik, who received a phone call from the Maoists, told The Hindu that the Maoists requested him to reach the people's court on April 25 along with the legislator's wife Kaushalya Majhi.
The abductors also clarified that they had not organised people's court on Thursday, Mr. Patnaik said.
However, police sources said that the Maoists had organised a people's court on Thursday but had failed to take a final decision about releasing the tribal legislator.
Meanwhile, Narayanpatna area of Koraput district remained cut off from all sides as the Maoists had blocked all roads by felling trees since Thursday night to enforce a day-long bandh in the locality during the day.
Mr. Hikaka, who represents Laxmipur Assembly seat in the State, was kidnapped by the Maoists from Koraput district on March 24.