Maoists on Thursday extended the deadline for Odisha BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka's release till April 7. Meanwhile, the Italian ambassador is in Bhubaneswar to meet chief minister Naveen Patnaik after the state government agreed to release 27 prisoners in exchange for Italian tourist Paolo Bosusco and Jhina Hikaka.
The Odisha chief minister had on Wednesday said the government would set free 27 people from jail in exchange for the release of Italian citizen Basusco Paolo and MLA Jhina Hikaka from Maoist captivity.
“Considering the safety of Jhina Hikaka, our young tribal MLA (of the BJD), our government has decided to facilitate the release of 15 members of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha and also eight left-wing extremists now lodged in jails in Koraput and Malkangiri districts,” Patnaik said in a statement.
Earlier, abducted Biju Janata Dal MLA Jhina Hikaka had written to 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.