Sabyasachi not to release Paolo, gives 96 hours ultimatum

Bhubaneswar: Top Naxal leader and Secretary of the State Organizing Committee of the CPI(Maoist) Sabyasachi Panda in response to the decision of the government facilitate the release of four prisoners to secure the release of Italian tour operator Paolo Bosusco held in captivity by the Maoists since March 14 today refused to free the hostage and set a deadline of 96 hours for the government to fulfill the demands of the Maoists. "We are not in a position to release the Italian national since the government has not signed any agreement with the mediators despite talks to free the hostage," said Sabyasachi in a fresh audio tape which he said to be treated as a press release.

Sabyasachi in his taped statement accused that the government had failed to meet the demands of the ultras. "We had placed some democratic demands before the government to secure the release of the Italian tourist. The demands included to free prisoners held under fabricated charges, legal action against police officials involved in corruption and rape of innocents and lift ban on political and mass organizations," said Sabyasachi and added, “And had released one Italian on goodwill gesture to create a conducive environment for dialogues. Yet the government stopped the discussions mid-way before taking any decisions about our demands."

"When talks resumed we had demanded that the government should provide detailed informations regarding the number of persons to be released immediately and about other prisoners to be freed later and to conclude an agreement between the government and the mediators," the naxal leader said. Sabyasachi rued that the government had reduced the talks to mere farce without caring about the demands. He pointed out that the government had announced to facilitate the release of only four while the Maoists had furnished seven names. "Even the name of the fourth person apart from that of Subhashree Dash, Arati Majhi and the brother of Nachika Linga was not clear," he alleged. "This amounted to nothing but stabbing the democratic talks from the back," he lamented.

The Maoist leader rued that the government was compelling the organization to take the extreme steps. "The government joined hands with a discarded member of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh(CMAS) to capture the Zilla Parishad in Koraput. The government was now trying to expose us after the kidnap of the MLA and hence was ignoring democratic talks,` he said and added, “The government it seemed attached more importance to those who ignore democratic talks."

Warning of dire consequences Sabyasachi stated that the Maoists would be compelled to take extreme steps unless the government concluded an agreement regarding the release of seven persons as per their demand. He warned that the government would be held responsible if it is condemned at the international level. Sabyasachi has served an ultimatum to the government to fulfill the demands within the deadline of 96 hours.