Maoists, who have been holding Biju Janata Dal MLA Jhina Hikaka (37) hostage, on Tuesday issued an audiotape warning the Odisha government to immediately fulfill their demands.
“We are giving the government a deadline till April 5,” Chandramauli, secretary of Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee, said in the audiotape released to the media.
Chandramauli reiterated that they did not want mediators for Hikaka’s release and stuck to their stand of seeing media announcement of government’s acceptance to their demands.
Their demands include implementation of agreement reached between the government and mediators during the abduction of the then Malkangiri collector R Vineel Krishna in February last year and release of all activists of Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha, who were arrested on “false” charges.
Hikaka was abducted on March 24 in Koraput district.
On Monday the Odisha State Organising Committee of CPI (Maoist) secretary Sabhasachi Panda issued an audiotape warning that the state government would be responsible if anything happened to Paolo.
Panda alleged that instead of fulfilling their demands, the government was playing delaying tactics and planning for an offensive against the Maoists.
Following Panda’s audiotape release, 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 the talks, which had lost direction.
However, Mohanty said talks could resume on Wednesday as Sharma was out of Odisha.
Maoists had abducted Paolo and compatriot Claudio Colangelo (60) on March 14 while they had gone for a trekking expedition to Kandhamal district. On March 25, Panda had released Colangelo as a “goodwill gesture”.