BHUBANESWAR: Freedom for abducted MLA Jhina Hikaka would come on Thursday with a heavy price. He would have to quit as a legislator and snap all ties with his party, the Biju Janata Dal.
After a month and two days in captivity, Hikaka is likely to be released by the Maoists at 10 am on Thursday at Balipeta in Narayanpatna block of Koraput district. The Maoists have decided to release him after he agreed to resign from the State Assembly.
Announcing this in a fresh audio tape, Maoist leader Aruna said the “praja court,” held on Tuesday in the presence of 150 people, decided in favour of Hikaka’s release. He will be handed over to his wife Koushalya and Koraput-based lawyer Nihar Patnaik, she said.
Hikaka has given an undertaking in the “praja court” that he will resign after his release and also snap all ties with the BJD. The Maoist leader said that Hikaka has agreed to live as an ordinary citizen and work for the people.
‘’Hikaka will put in his papers after his release and has given a written undertaking in this regard in the praja court’’, she said.
The lawyer of CPI(Maoist) and Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS) Nihar clarified that Hikaka will be handed over to him and Koushalya at Balipeta, 20 km from Narayanpatna. Nihar said Hikaka will resign as an MLA if the demands of the CMAS and the CPI(Maoist) are not implemented in a time-bound manner.
The “praja court” reportedly discussed the present situation in Narayanpatna, Operation Green Hunt, police operation, excesses and atrocities against innocent people. Aruna said people also pointed out how Hikaka as the local MLA had failed to stop such anti-people measures taken by the Government. Hikaka on his part too admitted his failure and helplessness. He also said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik did not take any active steps for his release because he is a tribal.
However, the Government did not have information regarding what transpired in the “praja court” and Hikaka’s promise to resign as claimed by the Maoist leader.
Stating that the Government will stand by its commitments, Home Secretary U N Behera said the proposals for withdrawal of prosecution against 13 persons belonging to CMAS and CPI(Maoist) are under process. Behera said bail has been granted to seven persons and four of them have already been released. The remaining three can be released on production of bailers, he said and added that the release of the remaining 18 persons can also be expedited if the bail petitions are filed on their behalf.
The Home Secretary requested the Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC) of the CPI (Maoist) to release the MLA immediately considering the ‘sincere efforts made by the Government’ and the distress of Hikaka’s family members.