Maoists refute to apply for bails, urge govt to release 29 prisoners

Bhubaneswar: The left wing extremist abductors of Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka have once again turned down the government proposal to the prisoners to apply for their bail applications and instead demanded that the government should suo moto take the necessary legal steps for withdrawal of cases against the 29 prisoners. Terming the government proposal as a dilatory tactics, Jagabandhu, the leader of the Andhra-Odisha-Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC), in a fresh audio tape released to the media through Aruna, warned the government to communicate its decision regarding the release of the 29 prisoners latest by today evening while earlier the Maoists had set the deadline for Wednesday evening. The AOBSZC has demanded that the government should take steps to release 29 prisoners and not 23 prisoners.

The AOBSZC leader stated in the tape that the 29 prisoners should be freed to secure the immediate release of the kidnapped MLA Jhina Hikaka on Wednesday who was safe in their custody. Hikaka was abducted by the Maoists on March 23 in Koraput district. The leader warned that the Maoists would be compelled to decide their future course of action regarding the fate of the tribal legislator and the government would be held responsible for any eventuality.

Meanwhile, the abducted MLA Jhina Hikaka has requested the government to expedite the process to release him from the Maoist abductors. Hikaka made the request through the legal counsel of the Maoist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS) Nihar Ranjan Patnaik who had a telephonic conversation with the kidnapped BJD legislator. The lawyer told OTV that the MLA was safe in the hands of his kidnappers. The lawyer said that Hikaka describing himself as a leader working for the welfare of the tribals told him over phone that he was supporting all the demands made by the CMAS.