BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday rushed two senior ministers __ Surya Narayan Patro and Lal Behari Himirika __ to the ‘Ground Zero’ for taking stock of the situation after the kidnapping of Jhina Hikaka, BJD legislator from Laxmipur, by suspected Maoists on Friday night.
Amidst uproar by Opposition members in the Assembly protesting the abduction, the Chief Minister reviewed the situation at a high-level meeting here. In a statement Naveen said the MLA was abducted by the Maoists near Toyaput along Koraput-Laxmipur road at around 1 am.
The incident happened hours after Naveen appealed to the rebels to desist from violence. Besides visiting the spot of the abduction, the two ministers will meet the family of Hikaka, talk to the district administration and police, and study the situation there. The ministers will brief the Chief Minister about the developments after their return.
While no group has yet claimed responsibility for the kidnap, it is suspected to have been done by the Maoists, Naveen said. Senior police officers have rushed to the spot, he added. The Chief Minister told mediapersons that he spoke to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and informed him about the incident. Besides, Chief Secretary B K Patnaik spoke to Union Home Secretary Raj Kumar Singh.
Meanwhile, Naveen spoke to Kaushalya Majhi, wife of the abducted MLA, and assured her of all possible help by the Government for securing his release. “I spoke to Kaushalya and assured her that we will do everything possible for the release of her young husband,” the Chief Minister said.
Kaushalya has appealed to the kidnappers to release her husband unharmed saying he had been working for the welfare of tribals. On the Italian hostage crisis, the Chief Minister said negotiations would continue to resolve the issue.
“However, we will be urgently handling the abduction of the MLA that took place this morning,” he said. The issue rocked the Assembly on Saturday.