Maoist backed mediators negotiating for the release Italian citizen, Basusco Paolo (55) on Thursday gave the Odisha government an ultimatum saying that they would withdraw from talks if the Odisha government did not concede to at least three of the 13 demands set by Maoists by Friday evening.
The three demands are release of people re-arrested by police on fresh cases after courts released them; release of innocent people arrested in fabricated cases; and implementation of court orders to prosecute erring police officers responsible for custodial deaths.
“We had given everything in written form to chief minister Naveen Patnaik two days back. But he wrongly announced that we were making fresh demands,” Dandapani Mohanty, one of the mediators, told Hindustan Times.
Patnaik on Wednesday said the negotiations for Paolo’s release might get delayed for a “brief period” as the state government received some additional demands from the mediators with regards to Paolo.
On the other hand, the Maoists, who abducted Biju Janata Dal MLA Jhina Hikaka (37), have refused to hold talks with the state government through mediators. They have said that Hikaka’s release is subject to the government announcement of fulfillment of their demands in the media.
The Odisha State Organising Committee of Maoists, headed by Sabyasachi Panda, had abducted Paolo and compatriot Claudio Colangelo (60), while Hikaka is a hostage of the rebels’s Andhra Odisha Border State Zonal Committee headed by Ramakrishna.
On March 25, Panda had released Colangelo as a “goodwill gesture”.