Broad agreement over abducted Italian reached
Bhubaneswar: The two Maoist mediators holding talks for release of Italian Paolo Bosusco have arrived at a “broad arrangement” on the rebels` demands while a Maoist-backed outfit was yet to respond to the government`s invitation for talks for freeing the BJD MLA.
Government representatives led by Home Secretary U N Behera held a 90-minute meeting with rebel mediators B D Sharma and Dandapani Mohanty late on Friday night on the demands made by the abductors for the release of the Italian. “Though what exactly transpired during the discussion is not clear, both sides are believed to have arrived at some broad arrangement on fulfilment of some of the rebels` demands including release of ultras,” highly placed sources said today. “A clear picture is likely to emerge very soon,” they said. A list of ultras whose release had been demanded by the Maoists was discussed during the meeting, the sources said.
However, the Maoist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS), which has been invited for talks by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for the release of BJD legislator Jhina Hikaka, was yet to respond. The Maoist, who abducted Hikaka, have ruled out appointment of mediators.
“While the chief minister invited the CMAS to join talks for the release of the Laxmipur MLA from the captivity of Maoists, there has been no response from them so far,” a senior official said. “However, we hope to hear from them and are waiting. The CMAS should come forward for talks as the demands made by the abductors of the 37-year-old MLA relate to demands made by them,” he said. “Since the whole issue is highly sensitive, it needs to be discussed face-to-face in order to arrive at a solution,” said another official.
54-year-old Paolo Bosusco, who is a tour operator based in Puri was abducted along with 61-year-old Italian tourist Claudio Colangelo by Maoists while trekking in Kandhamal district on March 14. Though Colangelo was released by the abductors on March 25 as a goodwill gesture, Bosusco was still in the captivity of Maoists.
Hikaka was kidnapped on March 24 from Koraput district when he was returning home to Laxmipur from Koraput after a political meeting.