Naveen appeals Maoists to release two Italians

Bhubaneswar: A pamphlet containing 13 demands of Maoists for release of two abducted Italian nationals has been received but the abductors are yet to nominate anyone for holding negotiations, chief minister Naveen Patnaik told in the state Assembly today.

"A pamphlet in the name of `Sunil`, Secretary, Odisha State Organising Committee of CPI (Maoist) containing 13 demands of the Maoists, has been received," Patnaik said in a statement in the house after the Opposition parties slamming the government for the abduction incident demanded replies from the chief minister. Naveen clarified that the pamphlet was being examined by the state government.

The Maoists have not yet nominated their representatives to discuss the matter on their behalf with the government, Patnaik said. He assured that "when such a communication is received, further steps will be taken." Patnaik also made a fresh appeal to the Maoists to release the hostages. "I once again make a strong appeal on humane grounds, here, in this August house, to release the two Italian nationals immediately and to see they are unharmed."

Patnaik informed the house that the two Italians-Paolo Boscusco and Claudio Colangelo, who were visiting some areas in Daringbadi Tahsil of Kandhamal district from March 12, had been abducted by a group of Left Wing Extremists on March 14 but the abductors reported the kidnapping on March 17 night through the media. "Paolo Bosusco has been staying in India for the last 19 years in Puri and was running a travel agency named "Odisha Adventurous Trekking" which has been organising trips to different parts of the state for tourists, while Colangelo is a tourist from Italy," Patnaik said.

Indicating the state government`s willingness to hold discussions with the abductors on the matter at the earliest, he said, "I have spoken to External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram informing them about the developments." The Italian Ambassador to India spoke to me yesterday and I apprised him about the present position, while the Consul General of Italy based in Kolkata has arrived in Bhubaneswar on Sunday, he said.