He looked visibly tired. After remaining in the custody of Maoists for 29 days, Italian national Paolo Bosusco was candid enough to say he needed “some rest”. For someone who has spent 22 years in Odisha without seeking any attention, the last one month of his life has proved to be most dramatic. At the State Guest House, where he was formally handed over to Italian Ambassador Giacomo Sanfelice di Monteforte and Consul General Joe Melchiori, Bosusco spoke fondly of his relationship with the state, its tribals and even showed signs of sympathy for the rebels. Call it Stockholm Syndrome if you want to but the Italian tourist guide even called for an end to violence.
Twenty-nine days in captivity must have been traumatic experience. How do you feel now?
I am feeling very happy. ‘Mote
bahut bhala laguchhi’ (I am feeling very good in Odia). But I am tired and I need some rest.
How did the Naxals treat you? Can you describe the experience?
They treated me well.
What about Arati Majhi (a tribal girl who was allegedly branded Maoist by security forces before being subjected to gangrape) whose release the CPI (Maoist) has demanded? What do you think of the Maoists?
I hope my sacrifice will gain her freedom. They are fighting against injustice. I don’t know what is right or wrong. I am not a political person but I just can say that everybody should leave violence and not do injustice to anybody.
Will you stay back in India?
I am sorry but I have to leave India since my work is finished. But my history of love with Odisha will never finish.
Will you come back to Odisha?
(In Odia again) ‘Heipaare mu aau asiparibi nahin (Maybe, I will never come back to Odisha). But I have great love for the tribals of Odisha. I will always be grateful for their love and friendship.
Your experience with Odisha and its people?
I must thank the Odia people for all their love, kindness and friendship that they have given me in the last 22 years in the state. That will be something which will remain a part of my heart.