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Odisha abduction crisis: Govt, naxals to resume talks

Odisha government is likely to begin the second round of negotiations with  Naxal-appointed interlocutors to secure the release of  Italian hostage Paolo Bosusco.

Bosusco, along with another Italian  Claudio Colangelo, was abducted by Maoists from the tribal-dominated Kandhamal-Ganjam border area in Odisha.

After negotiations, the Maoists released Colangelo on Sunday but kept Bosusco in their custody saying  they would not release him until the state government fulfilled their demands.

File image of Italian Paolo Bosusco who is still being held by the Maoists. PTI

CNN-IBN reported that Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda, who had initially put forward 13 demands for the release of the Italians,  has now climbed down to just two conditions.

His  first demand is the release of  five Naxal leaders including his wife, Subhashree Panda. The second demand is that  action be taken against police officers who are charged with rape, custodial deaths and violence against tribals and villagers.

Sabyasachi Panda in a message said, "We abducted the foreign tourists to send a message to the government that tribals are not monkeys that anyone can come and watch them."

The hostage crisis intensified in Odisha when a BJD MLA Jina Hikaka was also kidnapped by another faction of Maoists. There was a ruckus in the Odisha Assembly, with opposition demanding the resignation of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Condemning Hikaka's abduction, Panda said, "We condemn the Maoist violence in the Andhra Pradesh-Odisha border region. There was no reason to abduct the MLA when the talks between the Naxals and the government were going on in a cordial manner."

Dandapani Mohanty, one of the interlocutors in Italian abduction said that the other Maoist faction is yet to place their demand for the release of Hikaka. Mohanty added that they wanted  to get over with the process of negotiation for the release of Bosusco as soon as possible.