Hikaka family waits as Maoists free Paolo

Jeypore: Not a day or two. It has been 20 days since the ultras of the Andhra-Odisha-Border Special Zonal Committee(AOBSZC) kidnapped Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka in Koraput district. The family members of the 37-year-old tribal MLA have been waiting for his release while Italian national Paolo Bosusco was freed by his abductors, the ultras of the Odisha State Organising Committe of the CPI(Maoist) in Kandhamal district today.

The abductors of Jhina Hikaka, on the expiry of the deadline on April 10, have issued an ultimatum on Wednesday not to release the MLA till the government freed the 30 prisoners including Maoists and members of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh(CMAS) and warned the government launching any offensive action against the ultras. The letter issued by AOBSZC leader Jagabandhu has compounded the crisis for the family members of the abducted MLA. Said Koushalya, wife of the MLA,"After the release of Paolo, we hope that he will be freed soon."

The abductors have toughened their stand to release of the MLA. The AOBSZC asked the government to release five more prisoners including hardcore Maoist leader Ghasi and four others though the government had earlier announcd to facilitate the release of 23 persons which included 8 Maoists and 15 members of the CMAS.

The Chief Minister, the three higher officials of the government who took part in the dialogues with the two Maoist-named negotiators to secure the release of Paolo including the two mediators, B D Sharma and Dandapani Mohanty have made several appeals to the AOBSZC leaders to free the MLA. Ministers  and MLAs keep visiting the family members of the MLA and assure them about the release of the legislator. Koushalya, wife of the legislator has appealed the government to take measures to secure the release of the tribal leader from the clutches of the rebels. Only time can tell when Jhina Hikaka will be freed.