Even as the deadline set by Maoists for fulfilment of their demands by the Naveen Patnaik government is set to end on Tuesday, uncertainty continued to prevail over the possible release of Italian tour operator Bosusco Paolo and legislator Jhina Hikaka till Monday evening.
The chances of the release of both Mr. Paolo and Mr. Hikaka appeared to be bleak as the government has not fulfilled all the demands made by different groups of Maoists who are holding the two hostages.
While the Odisha State Organising Committee of the CPI (Maoist) had asked the government to clarify which of its 13 demands had been accepted to ensure the release of Mr. Paolo, the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of the CPI (Maoist) had demanded the release of five more persons to set Mr. Hikaka free.
In Mr. Paolo's case, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday said confusion over the release of the persons, whose names had been given by the Maoists, would be cleared soon. He, however, did not clarify the government's stand on the remaining demands of the abductors.
In the case of Mr. Hikaka's abduction, Mr. Patnaik had said that the legal aspects of the demand for the release of five more persons were being examined by the government. The same stand was repeated by Chief Secretary B.K. Patnaik before journalists on Monday.
Mr. Hikaka's abductors issued a communication on Sunday asking the legislator's wife to reach a village in Koraput district on Tuesday along with two mediators who held talks with the government about Mr. Paolo's release, demanding for a lawyer and 30 prisoners whose release the government was to facilitate as per their demands. However, according to sources, release of the prisoners by Tuesday would not be possible as it involved the completion of various legal procedures.
In another development, the Odisha Police Association on Monday threatened to boycott anti-Maoist operations if the State government released any hardcore Maoist to secure the release of the hostages.