BHUBANESWAR: Odisha's police force today threatened to boycott anti-Naxal operations if hardcore Maoists are freed by the state government in a bid to end the twin hostage crisis which escalated with the abductors setting new demands before their deadline expires tomorrow.
Adding to the woes of the government, the Odisha Police Association(OPA) warned it will skip duties in Naxal affected areas while making it clear it will oppose "tooth and nail" any move to set free hardcore Maoists like Chenda Bhusanam alias Ghasi, an accused in the killing of at least 55 security personnel.
With the abductors of MLA Jhina Hikaka and Italian Paolo Bosusco placing new demands, an early release of the duo also appeared uncertain.
While the release of the Laxmipur BJD MLA became uncertain with the Maoists demanding immediate swap with 30 prisoners, another group of Naxals holding the Italian tour guide asked the state government to clarify how many ultras it would free.
As the deadline set by both the groups for meeting their demands ends tomorrow, the state government sought opinion of the police on the release of hardcore Maoists, including Bhusanam , as sought by the abductors.
"We will oppose tooth and nail any move to free hardcore Maoists. If necessary, we will launch a vigorous agitation to prevent their release," OPA President Sawarmal Sharma told reporters.
If the situation warrants, the police personnel would be forced to pull out of anti-Maoist operations and boycott duty in the Naxal-affected areas, Sharma said, adding sacrifices made by police would go in vain if hardcore ultras are freed.
The state government is weighing various options on any release of the ultras.
"We have sought opinion of the police on whether the fresh demands made by abductors of the MLA can be met," Chief Secretary B K Patnaik told reporters here, adding the legal aspects need to be verified before taking any decision.