Subhasree Panda, whose release has been demanded by Maoists in exchange for letting off abducted Italian Basusco Paolo, appealed the rebels on Tuesday not to harm the foreigner and MLA Jhina Hikaka, who too is in Maoist captivity.
“I appeal the Maoists not to harm Paolo (who was abducted by her husband Sabyasachi Panda’s group) and Hikaka. The MLA hails from a tribal family and works for the welfare of tribal people,” she said after appearing in a court in Rayagada district.
But she urged the government to solve the crisis politically. Subahasree has been behind bars for more than two years after being arrested for alleged Maoist activities.
She had earlier been acquitted by the Orissa high court in a different case.
Amid the hostage crisis, however, the security forces killed an alleged Maoist in Keonjhar district in an encounter. Talking to HT, Keonjhar superintendent of police Ashish Singh said the security men received intelligence reports that a group of about 15 Maoists were planning to attack a police station.
“During the operation, the Maoists fired on the police. In the ensuing encounter one of them was killed,” he said.
Menawhile, following the two abductions in Odisha, a ban has been imposed on the entry of foreign nationals and tourists into Maoist-hit Koraput district.
With inputs from PTI