Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Talks on Italian hostage crisis resume

Talks on Italian hostage crisis resumeAfter a day's break, talks resumed between the Odisha govt and Maoist negotiators on Wednesday for release of the Italian captive while the state Assembly unanimously appealed to the kidnappers of BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka to free him.

Talks on Italian hostage crisis resumeThe appeal comes a day before the deadline fixed by the ultras expires. Home Secretary U N Behera led a three-member team of government representatives in the talks with Maoist-named mediators B D Sharma and Dandapani Mohanty.

Fresh talks to resolve the Italian hostage crisis began on Monday night after a threat from Secretary of Odisha State Organising Committee of CPI (Maoist) Sabyasachi Panda, whose organisation claimed to have abducted Paolo Bosusco on 14th March, that the hostage might be harmed if any action was launched.

"We may take the extreme step if the government launches an offensive to release the hostage," Panda said in an audio message released to the media, demanding immediate release of seven jailed rebels, including his wife Subhashree Das alias Mili Panda.

However, negotiations could not be held on Tuesday as one of the Maoist-nominated mediators was away from Bhubaneswar for a day, official sources said.

With a day left for the 5th April deadline set by the abductors of the Laxmipur legislator, the Assembly adopted a unanimous resolution appealing to the Maoists to release the MLA immediately unharmed.

"This house expresses deep concern over the abduction of the MLA by Maoists. We unanimously appeal to Maoists to release the MLA immediately unharmed," the resolution moved by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said.

The resolution was adopted after Congress legislator Dambarudhar Ulaka voiced concern about Hikaka's fate as the deadline set by Maoists ends Thursday and there was no news on the extension of the deadline despite the government's appeal.

The government on Tuesday appealed to Hikaka's abductors to extend the 5th April deadline and invited Nachika Linga, president of Maoist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh for negotiation, even as the rebels rejected the offer.

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