JEYPORE: After 33 days in captivity and walking through treacherous terrains during nights along with gun-totting Maoists, Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka returned home as fit as a fiddle.
All set to take on his job as a people’s representative all over again, Hikaka told this paper as to what kept him going during his days in Maoists’ custody. Away from near and dear ones, it was his favourite dish ‘mandia’ or ‘ragi’ (millets) porridge, that infused life into him.
Kept hostage in the dense Bijaghat forest of Narayanpatna, Hikaka said he kept good health in the Maoist camps and there was no harsh action or pressure on him from the ultras.
Informing about food being given to him by the Maoists, Hikaka said he was served cooked food and offered a non-vegetarian dish six times in 33 days.” “However, I, being a tribal, asked them for ‘mandia jau’, which is part of my daily menu, and the Maoists happily obliged,” said the MLA adding that they were kind enough to provide good food to me. “Mandia boosted my health as well as morale during captivity,” he added.
He was taken to dense forest areas of Narayanpatna but had put up for a while in a village outside only to be later shifted to Bijaghat. “They cared for me all the time and kept me informed about the day-to-day developments by providing newspapers and radio,” Hikaka recalls. “We were in deep forest and shifted camps only about four times but I could not recognise the jungle,” Hikaka said adding that they had moved only during night.
Meanwhile, the MLA has been meeting only a select few, hoping to spend some quality time with family.