Trekking team ignored police warning
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Trekking team ignored police warning

Two freed escorts deny allegation that abducted Italians were taking ‘objectionable’ pics.

india Updated: Mar 20, 2012 00:05 IST
Priya Ranjan Sahu
Priya Ranjan Sahu
Hindustan Times

After their release from Maoist captivity, Santosh Maharana and Kartika Parida, the two escorts who were abducted along with Italian nationals Basusco Paolo (55) and Claudio Colangelo (60), have admitted they had ignored police warning in this regard.

And, Maharana denied the Maoist allegation that the trekking team was clicking “objectionable” pictures.

“After we reached Kandhamal, Paolo took us to a police station. The police advised us not to go to areas where there was Maoist presence. Paolo assured the police that they would not go far.”

Maharana works as a cook for Paolo, who has been staying in the country for the past 19 years and running a travel agency, Odisha Adventurous Trekking, since 2001 in Puri. Parida has a teashop near the agency.

Their expedition started on March 12 and the team visited a village, moved around the hills and slept in a local church.

“On Wednesday, March 14, we went to a forest two km from the church and set up a tent near a spring. When we were taking a bath in the spring at about 10.30am, suddenly eight Maoists carrying guns surrounded us,” Maharana told Hindustan Times.

After blindfolding the four and tying their hands, the Maoists took them along the forest path for four hours on foot. When the blindfold was removed, Maharana and others found more than 25 of the red brigade around them in the dense forest.

Maharana said during their captivity, the Maoists treated them well and gave three meals a day.

“They enquired about Italy from Paolo and Colangelo and about local issues from us,” said Maharana.

On Saturday afternoon, they told Maharana and Parida they were free but would keep the foreigners for some time.

First Published: Mar 20, 2012 00:02 IST