Talks resume to end Italian hostage row

Bhubaneswar: The second round of talks between the government and the two negotiators representing the CPI (Maoist) to end the Italian hostage crisis began today afternoon at the State Guest House here. The government is being represented by the Home Secretary, Upendra Nath Behera, Panchayatiraj Secretary Pradip Kumar Jena and SC/ST Welfare Secretary Santosh Sarangi. Noted social activist and retired bureaucrat B D Sharma and Dandapani Mohanty are the two negotiators representing the CPI (Maoist).

The Maoists have put forth 13 demands for the safe release of the two Italians held hostage since March 14. Maoist ultras had kidnapped the duo from Daringbadi area of Kandhamal district. The demands included the release of some leaders of the CPI (Maoist) from different jails in the state including Subhashrre Dash alias Mili Panda, wife of top naxal leader Sabyasachi Panda and action against police officials allegedly involved in fake encounters. The first round of talks had ended in an inconclusive manner on Thursday evening.