CM convenes emergency meeting on hostage crisis

Bhubaneswar: With the fate of a BJD MLA and two Italians, taken hostage by Maoists in the state remaining unknown, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today held an emergency meeting with top officials to review the situation.

The government has not yet received any demand from the Maoists for release of BJD MLA from Laxmipur, Jhina Hikaka, who was kidnapped near Toyaput in Koraput district yesterday, Chief Secretary B K Patnaik, who attended the meeting, said.

No new names of mediators for talks to resolve the Italian hostage crisis was received from the ultras after suspension of negotiations on Saturday after two of them quit, he said.

The meeting was also attended by Home Secretary U N Behera and Director General of Police Manmohan Praharaj.

The talks for the release of two Italians, Puri-based tour operator Paolo Basusco and tourist Claudio Colangelo kidnapped from Kandhamal district on March 14, were suspended after Maoist negotiators B D Sharma and Dandapani Mohanty quit following the abduction of Hikaka.