Odisha government on Monday intensified efforts for the release of two Italian nationals from the captivity of Maoists. Maoists set 13 demands for the release of the foreigners.
Targeting foreigners for the first time, Maoists abducted the two Italian nationals, Basusco Paolo (55) and Claudio Colangilo (60), from the forested areas of Kandhamal district on Saturday evening. This came to light after the rebels, through an audio tape released to the media on Sunday, claimed responsibility for the abduction when the foreigners were found taking “objectionable” pictures of tribals in the district, about 300 km southwest of Bhubaneswar. While most of the demands are similar to those when the then Malkangiri collector R Vineel Krishna was abducted including release of “innocent” tribals, the Maoists categorically ask in one demand to “fulfil all demands agreed up during Malkangiri collector hostage crisis”.
The demands are as follows:
1.Tribals are not commodities for tourists and tribal areas not meant for tourism. This should be clearly announced by the state government and those violating this should be arrested and punished.
2.Halt operation green hunt. Except the existing police stations, withdraw all police camps immediately. Create conducive atmosphere for talks relating to people’s problems.
3.Withdraw ban on Communist Party of India (Maoist) and other people’s organizations.
4.Arrest and hold trials of the SP and police officials on charge of murder and rape for murdering Lalit Dehuri, Junesh Badarlat, Pradip Majhi in false encounter and gang raping Arati Majhi. Release Arati Majhi unconditionally.
5.Release all including Ashutosh, Kamalakanta Sethi, Sujata, Kishore Jena, Pratap and Majulata who were arrested in connection with Nayagarh armoury loot case.
6.Stop arresting people released by courts in again by imposing fresh cases. In this context, release all including Subhashri Das, Lalit who have been detained even after their release by courts.
7.Release all innocent prisoners including Shatrughan Biswal, Uttam, Shekarh, Sudarshan Mandal, Ramesh Nayak, Lata, Bijal and Ratna lodged in Rayagada, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Ganjam, Nayagarh, Sambalpur, Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar.
8.Do not scrap the ST status of tribals including Kotia, Konda Dora, Acha Kui, Gauda Kui, Kumbhara Kui, Sahara, Odia Kanda and Khaira. Grant ST status to those tribals not yet recognised as ST.
9.Provide drinking water to Odisha’s all villages, irrigation to all land, free medical facility in all gram panchayats. Provide free education to students till high school level.
10.Stop police crackdown on all anti-land acquisition movements including those in Posco-Kalinga Nagar-Vedanta areas. Release anti-land acquistion movement leaders like Abhay Sahu and Narayan Reddy.
11.Release leaders of mass democratic movements like Gananath Patra and withdraw all cases against people participating in Mandrabaku, Nedingpadar, Gudari and Narayanpatna land movements.
12.Initiate enqiry by independent agencies into forced surrender of Maoists and unlawful detaintion of surrendered Maoists by police.
13.Fulfil all demands agreed upon for release of (the then) Malkangir collector from captivity in February last year.