Even as the Odisha government on Monday struggled to find a solution to the twin hostage crisis following issue of audiotapes seeking "clarifications" on whom the government was letting off for Paolo Bosusco's release and receipt of a letter demanding release of 30 prisoners for BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka's release, a body of policemen objected to release of "hardcore" Maoists.
Sabarmal Sharma, president of Odisha Police Association told reporters: "We will strongly oppose if the government releases hardcore Maoists. If necessary we will stop working in Maoist affected areas."
On Sunday, Sabyasachi Panda, secretary, Odisha State Organising Committee (OSOC) of the CPI (Maoist) issued an audiotape, seeking clarification from the Odisha government on whether it was releasing those that the rebels wanted.
"We had demanded the release of seven persons while the government had announced releasing six. But finally it announced the release of five," Panda said, adding that the government had also not cleared its position on the rebels' other demands.
On the other hand, a letter addressed to Hikaka's wife from Jagabandhu, spokesperson of Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee, offered to free Hikaka if she reached Balipeta village in Koraput district along with 30 prisoners whose release had been demanded.
Both Panda and Jagabandhu have given April 10 as deadlines for the government to meet their demands.
Odisha chief secretary BK Patnaik told reporters here that the government was examining the demands.
Ending their talks on Saturday, the three Odisha government negotiators and two Maoist-backed mediators signed an agreement and jointly appealed to the Odisha State Organising Committee (OSOC) of the CPI (Maoist), led by Panda, to free Bosusco immediately.
Paolo and fellow Italian Claudio Colangelo were abducted on March 14 by the Panda led OSOC in Kandhamal district where they had gone on a trekking expedition.
On March 25, Panda had released Colangelo as a "goodwill gesture". On the other hand, AOBSZC led by Ramkrishna abducted Hikaka on March 24 in Koraput district.
The government has so far agreed to facilitate to release five persons and 23 – eight Maoists and 15 activists of leftist tribal outfit Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha – in exchange for Paolo and Hikaka respectively.
However, AOBSZC has demanded release of five more people on the ground that out of the eight, only two are Maoists.