BHUBANESWAR: A day after the Odisha Governm­ent announced a swap deal for the release of Italian tour guide Paolo Bosus­co, who has been held hostage, the CPI (Maoist) on Friday rejected it saying the State was engaged in a farcical negotiation process, which was unacceptable.
The Odisha State Organi­sing Committee of the Maoist party, which had abducted the Italian, has given the government another 96 hours (till Tuesday) to meet its demands or face extreme action.
On Thursday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had announced the names of 27, including eight Maoists, to be released. It included four who would be released in exchange for Paolo’s freedom.
But the glimmer of hope ended after Committee secretary Sabyasachi Panda released an audiotape earlier in the day in which he slammed the government for not honouring the demands.
“We had asked for a signed agreement from the government, seeking release of seven political prisoners and action against security personnel involved in excesses against innocent tribals. But the government has ignored it,” he said. Of the four names announced, the Maoist said, only three—Arati Majhi, Suka Nachika and Subhashree Das—were in the original list sent by the Maoists through their mediators. The fourth—Chakra Tadingi—did not figure in the list. This, he claimed, showed how the government has been taking decisions unilaterally.
Panda’s tape also took a dig at the abduction of Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka, calling it orchestrated, as the ruling party had a pre-poll agreement with the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha in the recent Zilla Parishad elections.