Maoists holding Odisha MLA Jhina Hikaka captive for more than one month have announced they will release him on Thursday.
Rebel leader Aruna on Wednesday said Hikaka would be handed over to his wife Kaushalya Majhi and NR Patnaik, a lawyer for leftist tribal outfit Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS), at Balipeta village in Koraput district at 10am.
She warned the government not to send any police or intelligence department officials to the release point in the south Odisha district.
Speaking on behalf of the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of the CPI (Maoist), Aruna said in an audiotape Hikaka had “accepted his mistakes and assured to resign from the assembly”.
Responding to the Maoist declaration, state home secretary UN Behera said, “We have heard from the media about the Maoist announcement.”
Agreeing to some of the demands placed by the Maoists to free Hikaka, Odisha has decided to facilitate the release of 25 people including 17 CMAS members from jail.
On Tuesday, Maoists had played judge at a kangaroo court where the ruling Biju Janata Dal legislator’s fate was decided.
“The praja (people’s) court — attended by 150 people — decided to release Hikaka. He admitted in court that he had failed to do anything for the tribal people after joining the BJD and becoming an MLA,” said Aruna.
The court discussed the deployment of anti-Naxal forces and their atrocities on innocent people. “Hikaka admitted his failure and said the government led by Naveen Patnaik did not take steps to secure his release because he was a tribal,” she said.
Aruna said Hikaka, the MLA from Laxmipur in Koraput, moved around villages during his captivity and saw the plight of tribals. He said he would sever all ties with the BJD after his release.
Maoists had abducted Hikaka, 37, on March 24.