Seeking a way forward in the continuing hostage crisis,the Odisha government today invited the Maoist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS) for talks stating that its demands were related to that of the ultras.
“The demands made by the abductors of Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka have come out in the media. As the demands seem to relate to CMAS,the state is open for dialogue with the members of the Sangh,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a statement in the state assembly.
“Therefore,we invite the Sangh to nominate its representatives for talks,” Patnaik said,a day after Maoists turned down a request by him to join negotiations and name mediators for freeing 37-year-old Hikaka.
The CMAS has made it clear earlier that it had no role in the abduction of Hikaka.
On Italian Paolo Bosusco being held by the Maoists,the chief minister said that the state government had seen the recent demands of the two negotiators nominated by ultras.
“Since these demands involve further examination,a little more time is required by the state government,” Patnaik said making a fresh appeal to the Maoists to release both Hikaka and Bosusco unharmed.
The chief minister’s statement coincided with the deadline given by Maoist mediators B D Sharma and Dandapani Mohanty for resumption of talks for the release of Bosusco.
A senior official hoped talks would resume soon and that Maoist mediators would wait a little more time.
Mohanty and Sharma had wanted three of 13 demands of the Maoists be met for the release of the Italian.