Hostage row:Government to free 27 including Mili Panda

Bhubaneswar: The Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today announced the names of 27 persons to be released from different jails to secure the twin releases of Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka and Italian national Paolo Bosusco held in captivity by left wing extremists of two separate groups of CPI(Maoist). Announcing the names of the persons to be released by the government in the assembly the Chief Minister said that the government would facilitate the "release of 23 persons to secure the freedom of our young colleague Jhina Hikaka who was abducted in Koraput district."

The 23 names include 8 members of the CPI(Maoist) and 15 members of the Maoist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh(CMAS). The four other names were furnished by the mediators for the Secretary of the Organising Committee of the state unit of CPI(Maoist) Sabyasachi Panda to facilitate the release of Italian tour operator Paolo Bosusco.

The names of the 8 Maoists include two leaders from Andhra Pradesh. The duo, from Andhra Pradesh, Murla Neelam Reddy and Setu pangi were married to each other. The names of the 15 members of the CMAS to be freed to facilitate the release of Hikaka include the names of Rupuni Sirika, Dhana hantal and Ramesh Nachika. 

The four to be released for freeing Italian Paolo Bosusco included Subhashree Das alias Mili Panda, the wife of Sabyasachi Panda, secretary of Odisha State Organising Committee of CPI (Maoist). The Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of CPI (Maoist) was behind Hikaka`s abduction while Sabyasachi Panda`s outfit was responsible for that of the Italian. Bosusco had been kidnapped along with another Italian Claudio Colangelo while they were trekking in Kandhamal district on March 14. Colangelo was freed on March 25. Hikaka was abducted from Koraput district when he was returning home on March 23 night.

Meanwhile, Italian Ambassador Giacomo Sanfelice di Monteforte met the chief minister here this evening and discussed the hostage crisis involving Paolo Bosusco. Earlier in the day, the Maoists extended the deadline for fulfilment of their demands till April 7 for the release of BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka. Maoist leader Jagabandhu telephoned a section of the media saying the deadline, which was to end this evening, has been extended till the evening of April seven.