The Centre has fully backed the Odisha government in its efforts to get the release of the two Italians who were abducted by Maoists and hopes the Naxals would not harm the foreigners considering the possible adverse international reactions.
"We are in touch with the Odisha government and providing all assistance to them in their efforts to rescue the two Italians," a government official said.
The Centre hopes that the Maoists are not going to harm the two Italians as it would invite international condemnation and scuttle their efforts to get support from abroad.
"But we have advised the Odisha government not to take any chances and make all efforts to get the release of the two Italians through all possible means," the official said.
The abduction of the two foreigners has been considered by government officials as a desperate attempt by a senior CPI(Maoist) leader, Sabyasachi Panda, who has been marginalised within the organisation.
The CPI (Maoist) has made one Modem Balakrishna in-charge of its Odisha unit replacing Panda.
Panda wanted to assert his writ in the Odisha organisation by carrying out the audacious act, they said.
"Panda also wanted to get the release of his wife who is currently lodged in an Odisha jail," another official said.
The fate of two Italians taken hostage by Maoists in Odisha's Kandhamal district was not known with the ultras yet to respond to the state government's offer for negotiations.