Tough talk by MLA Jhina Hikaka abductors

Bhubaneswar: The Maoist abductors of Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka have categorically denied to extend the deadline for the release of the tribal legislator held in captivity for the last 25 days. The Maoists have threatened that the decision about the future course of action regarding the fate of the MLA would be decided in the `praja court`(public hearing).

In a new audio tape released on behalf of the Andhra-Odisha-Border Special Zonal Committee(AOBSZC) leader Jagabandhu, Maoist leader Aruna today clearly stated that the deadline would not be extended further as the Maoists have could not rely upon the statement issued by the government. However, the Home Secretary Upendranath Behera denied having any knowledge about the latest statements issued by the Maoist leader to the media.

The Maoists had earlier set Wednesday evening as the deadline for Hikaka`s release and demanded the release of 29 prisoners including some Maoists and members of the Maoist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh(CMAS) in exchange of the MLA. Large number of people, mostly tribals, even today gathered near Balipeta, the place where the Maoists had announced to free the MLA.

In another significant development, the Home Secretary U N Behera today told the media that the government has "decided to take steps for withdrawal of prosecution against 13 prisoners including five Maoists and eight CMAS members following the due process of law" to facilitate the release of Jhina Hikaka. The persons were Argu Sirika, Rupana Huluka, Dora Hantal, Dhana Hantal, Wadeka Diba, Nachika Suba, Rabi Tadingi and Huluka Kesaba, all members of the CMAS and Setu Pangi, Mula Neelam Reddy, Deba Madhi, Ganga Sodi and Bhima Padiama, all Maoists.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today once again made a sincere appeal to the Maoist abductors of Jhina Hikaka to release the 37-year-old legislator unhurt and in good health.