BHUBANESWAR: The State Government on Friday initiated steps for organising bail petitions for 23 activists of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS) and the Maoists to pave the way for the release of Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka, who is in captivity for the last 20 days.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik visited Koraput district on Friday and discussed the abduction issue with local legislators. Naveen’s visit to the area assumes significance as political activities had come to a standstill following the threat issued by the CPI(Maoist) to the ruling party MLAs and MP of the district.
Besides reviewing the development programmes implemented in the district, the Chief Minister went to Laxmipur and met the family members of the abducted MLA. He appealed to the Maoists yet again to free Hikaka immediately.
“I held discussion with MLAs of undivided Koraput district and officials on the need to secure Hikaka’s release,” Naveen said on his return.
“Besides MLA’s hostage crisis, I also discussed various developmental issues, welfare programmes and problems of the area.” A group of Scheduled Caste people from Narayanpatna gave a memorandum to the Chief Minister alleging that they have been ousted from the area and sought justice.
The Government, however, is unmoved over the release of some of the prisoners. It made clear on Friday that the demand of the Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC) to release five more activists of the CMAS and the CPI(Maoist), including Cheda Bhusanam alias Ghasi, cannot be met.
The demand is being examined by the Government, Home Secretary U N Behera said, adding that there are serious charges against Ghasi, a hardcore Maoist.
Behera said during his visit to Koraput, the Chief Minister discussed the hostage crisis with the officials. The district administration has taken up the matter of filing bail petitions with the advocate of the CMAS and the CPI(Maoist). The bail petitions are being organised, he said.
The co-adviser of CMAS Dandapani Mohanty, one of the Maoist interlocutors in the Italian national hostage crisis, had said the CMAS would not move bail petitions for any of its activists who are in jails.
In his last Press note, AOBSZC spokesman Jagabandhu had said there is no question of releasing the MLA if all the 30 prisoners, as demanded by the Maoists, were not released.
He had also warned that the MP and the MLAs of the BJD are in the hit-list and they will be held captive if the demands are not met. The demands include release of Ghasi, who faces serious cases of violence. The Government also renewed its appeal to the AOBSZC for releasing Hikaka immediately unhurt and in good health.