Maoists free Odisha legislator Jhina Hikaka

Rebels released the BJD MLA in Odisha’s Koraput district after holding him captive for more than a month.

Published: 26th April 2012 10:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 10:31 PM   |  A+A-


(Express file photo)

BALIPETA: Emotions ran high as Odisha legislator Jhina Hikaka walked into a crowd of people here Thursday, released by Maoists after being held captive for over a month in Koraput district.

The 37-year-old Biju Janata Dal (BJD) legislator, wearing a green kurta, hugged his wife Kaushalya and, seconds later, both broke down. He said he was in good condition and the rebels had treated him well.

Reporters and photographers surrounded Hikaka, who appeared relieved and healthy, as he came with a group of villagers to a mango garden at Balipeta, over 500 km from Bhubaneswar, at about 10.30 a.m.

Replying to a question from a reporter at the site on whether he had given an undertaking to the rebels that he would resign from the assembly and from the BJD, Hikaka said, "You will come to know about it."

Party colleague and MP Baijayant Panda told reporters, "We're glad that he is safe and unharmed."

The leftwing extremists, who kidnapped Hikaka from Laxmipur in Koraput March 24, had Wednesday announced that a people's court had decided to release him after he apologised to the rebels and local villagers.

A Maoist leader calling herself 'Aruna', in an audio message aired by a local television channel here, had said the decision to release him was taken after he promised to resign from the assembly and the primary membership of the ruling BJD.


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