BHUBANESWAR/PHULBANI: Hours after Left wing extremists announced they have abducted two Italian nationals from the conflict-hit Kandhamal district, the Odisha government on Sunday expressed readiness for a talks and waited for the response from the rebels.
As the deadline to accept the 13-point demands laid by the Maoists ended at 6 pm, a worried government mobilised its resources to locate the two foreigners while Italy’s Consul General rushed to the State Capital to take stock of the situation.
CM Naveen Patnaik condemned the abduction that is likely to have international ramifications and issued an appeal to the Maoists to release — Paolo Bosusco and Claudio Colangelo — on humanitarian grounds.
Paolo and Claudio were picked up by the Maoists from Darngibadi area of Kandhamal. While the State maintained that the duo, along with their driver and cook, was kidnapped on Saturday, police said they were abducted last Wednesday.
Paolo and Claudio were seen on March 12 but were prevented by local police since the tribal region is Naxal-infested. Besides, recently, Odisha had imposed restrictions on tribal tourism by foreign nationals over the issue of “human safari.”
Sabyasachi Panda, secretary of Odisha Organisational Committee of CPI (M), sent an audio tape to local TV channels announcing the duo’s abduction and seeking fulfillment of their demands.
“We have held two Italians who like hundreds of foreign tourists are encouraged by the government to visit tribal areas and treat locals as monkeys and objects of ridicule. This is against humanity and we want the people... to rise against this,” he said.