Odias occupy a special place in my heart: Paolo Bosusco

Bhubaneswar: The 29-day Italian hostage crisis ended today morning with the Secretary of the Odisha State Organising Committee, Sabyasachi Panda, handing over Italian national Paolo Bosusco to Dandapani Mohanty, one of the two Maoist-named mediators, near Raikia in Phulbani district. The Maoist leader handed over the Puri-based Italian operator Paolo after Dandapani Mohanty gave a copy of the joint statement of the three government officials and the two Maoist-nominated mediators to Sabyasachi Panda.

Dandapani Mohanty brought over Paolo Bosusco to the State Guest House in the capital by road all the way from Raikia. Later Dandapani Mohanty told the media that Sabyasachi expressed his displeasure over the legal process to release the prisoners. He said that the government should immediately drop the charges against the jailed persons and free them as demanded by the Maoists. The Italian Ambassador to India and the Italian Consul General reached the State Guest House to share some god times with the freed countryman.

Paolo Bosusco after his release told the media that he would soon return to his motherland. He said,"The Odias and Odisha hold special place in my heart.` The Italian Ambassador thanked the Government of India and the Odisha government for the release of the Italian national.     

The Maoist cadres had kidnapped two Italian nationals, Paolo Bosusco and Claudio Colangelo on March from Daringbadi in Kandhamal district while the two tourists were allegedly taking some objectionable snaps of tribals. The Maoist leader used to release audio statements from time to time to raise his demands. He had raised 13-point charter of demands to secure the release of the two Italian nationals. However, the Maoists had released Claudio Colangelo on March 25 as a "goodwill gesture".

The government nominated three higher officials namely Upendranath Behera, Home Secretary, P K Jena, Panchayatiraj Secretary and Santosh Sarangi, SC/ST Welfare Secretary to hold talks with the two Maoist named negotiators, B D Sharma and Dandapani Mohanty to facilitate the release of Paolo Bosusco. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had on April 5 announced that the government would facilitate the release of 27 prisoners to secure the releases of Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka and Paolo Bosusco.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed his happiness for the release of Paolo and said that it was a great relief for the state government.