Maoists toughen stand for Hikaka release

Bhubaneswar: The Maoist abductors of BJD legislator Jhina Hikaka today fixed April 5 as the deadline for fulfillment of their demands and rejected the state government`s offer for dialogues. In an audio message, the Secretary of the Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of CPI(Maoist) Chandramauli stated that the Naveen government should fulfill their demands to release activists of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh(CMAS) incarcerated in Koraput and Malkangiri jails latest by April 5 for setting free the Laxmipur tribal MLA unharmed.

Rejecting the state government`s proposal to nominate negotiators for talks, the Maoist leader said in the message that their demands should be met by the set deadline without any "delaying tactics". The message from abductors of 37-year-old Hikaka came a day after captors of Italian national Paolo Bosusco released an audio tape threatening to take stringent action against the hostage if the government adopts a dillydallying approach towards their demand for immediate release of seven ultras.

Another leader of the Andhra-Odisha-Border Special Zonal Committee of the CPI(Maoist) Jagabandhu too issued a letter in connection with the release of the abducted MLA held in captivity since March 23. Jagabandhu in his letter stated that the government should first set free the political prisoners from jails in Koraput and Malkangiri to facilitate the release of the Laxmipur MLA. He said that the government had earlier not observed the conditions of the  agreement signed at the time of release of former Malkangiri collector Vineel Krishna. The Maoist leader too has demanded that the police must stop combing operations against the rebels.

In another letter the abducted Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka himself has requested Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to soon release all the innocent tribals incarcerated in jails who have been allegedly framed under fabricated charges by the police. In a letter written from an unknown Maoist camp Hikaka said that he was safe in the camp and the Maoists would release him unharmed if the government fulfills their demands.

The MLA Jhina Hikaka rued in the letter that the government has so far not done anything precious for his release. Hikaka accused that he was being neglected by the government "only because he was a tribal." Hikaka has requested to consider his proposal seriously and said that he was even prepared to quit as an MLA. In the wake of threats from both the rebel groups holding Hikaka and Italian Paolo Bosusco, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik held an emergency meeting with top officials to take stock of the situation and find ways to resolve the twin hostage crises.