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Paolo to pen his experiences in Maoist camp

Bhubaneswar: Memories of sleeping with a gun as a pillow, long treks in the jungle and eating with Maoists during the 29 days he was hostage will be turned into a book, Italian Paolo Bosusco said on Thursday.

"I will write a book about my experiences with the Maoists," a relaxed Bosusco told a local television channel after being released by the ultras.

"They are not bad people. They behaved properly with me and even risked their security to bring fruits for me from markets in urban areas of Kandhamal district," he said.

Stating that he was under the impression that hostages were kept in dingy rooms and secluded places and tortured, he said adding, however, this notion had changed completely.

"I never felt I was a hostage. They fed me bread while their cadres ate rice," the 54-year-old Italian from Turin in Italy said. Though he had a tent with him, Bosusco, a bachelor, said he slept at night among the Maoists with a gun as his pillow.

Long walks in forests and hilly terrain was also not difficult as he was an experienced trekker, he said.

The Maoists also tried to impress their ideology on him. "We often entered into debate over certain issues. I am happy at being released. At the same time, I am also sad as they will continue to struggle for their cause," he said.

Stating that he had learnt a lot from Maoists, Bosusco said they belonged to poor families. He said he shook hands with Odisha State Organising Committee of CPI (Maoist) leader Sabyasachi Panda before bidding goodbye to the other Maoists.

"I am a free bird again. I have always cherished being a free man and therefore move from place to place," he said. To a question, Bosusco said he was in a hurry to return to Turin where his 89-year-old father, Azeglio and 55-year-old sister Vanna stayed.

"I understand my sister is ill. I will certainly meet her after leaving India," he said.

Describing Odisha had been his second home where he had stayed for 22 years, he said, "I must thank the Odia people for all the love and friendship that they have given me in the last 22 years. I have a special love for Odisha."

Stating that he was not a political person, Paolo, who left for Delhi this evening, said he did not know whether Maoists who were `fighting for justice` were right or wrong but he did not accept their path of violence.

Sabyasachi Panda claimed the Italian hostage was not an enemy. "We abducted him to expose the loopholes in government policies," he said.

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