Abducted Biju Janata Dal MLA Jhina Hikaka has written to Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik from his captivity, saying he is safe but the government is “neglecting” his case because he is a tribal.
“Because I am a tribal, I am being neglected. In such a situation I will not be able to work for my area and, if necessary, I will resign as MLA,” the ruling party legislator said, appealing the chief minister to release those who were in jail on “false” charges.
Hikaka was abducted on March 24 in Koraput district.
Meanwhile, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has urged Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha chief Nachika Linga to mediate for the MLA’s release.
On the other hand, Maoists who abducted him issued an audiotape warning the Odisha government that all their demands should be met.
“We are giving the government a deadline till April 5,” said Chandramauli, secretary of the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee, in the audiotape released to the media.
Patnaik, however, asked the ultras to extend the deadline.
Chandramauli said they did not want mediators for Hikaka’s release and stuck to their stand of seeing a media announcement of the government’s acceptance of their demands.
Their demands include the implementation of the agreement between the government and mediators during the abduction of the then Malkangiri collector, R Vineel Krishna, in February 2011 and release of all Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha activists, who had been arrested on “false” charges.
On Monday CPI (Maoist) Odisha State Organising Committee secretary Sabhasachi Panda issued an audiotape warning that the state government would have to take the blame if anything happened to abducted Italian Basusco Paolo, who is still in Maoist captivity.
The tape accused the state government of resorting to delaying tactics on this issue and planning an offensive against the rebels.
Following this, Odisha home secretary UN Behera met the Maoist-backed mediators – former IAS officer and tribal rights activist BD Sharma and social activist Dandapani Mohanty – to resume talks, which had lost direction.