Odisha government withdraws cases against 13 persons, including Maoists
It appears abducted Odisha legislator Jhina Hikaka may be released soon with the Naveen Patnaik government on Wednesday agreeing to withdraw cases against as many as 13 persons, including a few Maoists.
The State government bowed to the demands of the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) after the abductors said they had no faith in it and the fate of Mr. Hikaka would be decided in “a people's court” on Thursday.
In a fresh message to the media, the Maoists said they had already extended the deadline four times so far and there would be no further extension.
Mr. Hikaka has been in the hands of the Maoists since he was kidnapped from Koraput district on March 24.
The State government had on Tuesday given an assurance that steps would be taken for withdrawal of cases pending against 25 persons if the hostage was released by Wednesday evening — the deadline fixed by the Maoists.
The government had responded after the Maoists issued a communication to the media asking the government to spell out the steps it was taking to free 29 under-trial prisoners to pave the way for Mr. Hikaka's release.
Plea against Maoists' release
In another development, a retired Army officer moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Odisha government not to release the Maoists from jail to buy freedom for Mr. Hikaka. The petition will come up for hearing on Thursday.