Hikaka abductors give 3 more days, want five more prisoners

Bhubaneswar: The Maoist abductors of Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka have extended the deadline for the release of the tribal legislator of the ruling Biju Janata Dal another three days to April 10 and demanded the release of five more prisoners. The spokesman of the Andhra-Odisha-Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC) Jagabandhu today informed OTV over phone that the outfit could not give guarantee about the fate of the MLA held in captivity since March 23 if its demands were not fulfilled within the latest deadline.

The prisoners whose release the AOBSZC has demanded include hardcore Maoist Chada Bhushanam alias Ghasi now lodged in the Koraput jail. Ghasi was involved in several Maoist operations including the attack in Koraput in 2004, attacks on R Udayagiri police station and jail in 2006 and in the attack on Damanjodi Hilltop mines. He too was accused in several cases of loot and murder. Over 70 cases including 9 in Koraput district and 62 in Andhra Pradesh were pending against Ghasi. The Andhra government had announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for the dreaded ultra who has been active in the outfit for the last two decades.

The other persons who figured in the demand list of the AOBSZC included Gananath Patra, the adviser of the Maoist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh(CMAS) and Suna Pangi, Singa Nachika and Gyansi Gyandika, all members of the CMAS. All the five pernons named in the list were incarcerated in the Koraput jail. 

Rejecting the government offer on April 5 to release 23 prisoners including 8 Maoists and 15 members of the CMAS, the AOBSZC spokesman Jagabandhu clarified that the list included just one Maoist and the seven others were civilians.

The spokesman said that the kidnapped MLA Jhina Hikaka was safe in their custody. He however warned that the outfit could not guarantee the safety of 37-year-old Hikaka unless the government fulfilled its demand by the deadline. Hikaka has been held in captivity by the Maoists for the last 15 days.

Top Maoist leader and Secretary of the Odisha State Organising Committe of the CPI(Maoist) Sabyasachi Panda too has served an ultimatum to the government to fulfill his demands within April 10 to secure the release of Italian national Paolo Bosusco.