Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday announced the names of 27 Maoists and their supporters,including two Maoist commanders and the wife of top Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda,to facilitate the freeing of a BJD MLA and an Italian tour operator held hostage by the rebels since last month.
Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka and Italian tour operator Paolo Basusco were separately abducted by Maoists on March 23 and March 14 respectively. While Hikaka was abducted in Laxmipur,Basusco was abducted in the forests of Kandhamal along with countryman Claudio Colangelo who was released later.
The 27 persons to be freed include eight CPI-Maoist cadres lodged in jails of Koraput and Malkangiri,15 members of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS),a Maoist front organisation,and four others including Subhasree Das,the wife of Orissa State Organising Committee of CPI (Maoist) secretary Sabyasachi Panda.
Panda,who is believed to be responsible for the abduction of the Italian,has been demanding the release of his wife persistently.
The 40-something Subhasree,who was arrested in January 2010 in Bhubaneswar,was the first Maoist in Orissa to be charged under Unlawful Activities (prevention) Act,1967. While Sabyasachi planned and executed daring attacks on police establishment,Subhasree helped in transferring Maoist leaders from one base to the other.
Though,the Orissa High Court in October 2011 quashed the proceedings against her on technical grounds,the police filed more cases against her. On Thursday,a fast track court in Rayagada completed hearing in a case against her and reserved the order till April 10.
The government,however,did not name Gananath Patra,the CMAS adviser whose release was demanded by both Panda as well as the Maoists Koraput-Srikakulam Divisional Committee which abducted Hikaka.
The 72-year-old Patra,a diabetic with poor eyesight,has been at the forefront of the CMAS movement in Narayanpatna and has several cases lodged against him including the one of Narayanpatna police station attack. He is in Koraput jail since January 2010 after his arrest in Bhubaneswar.
Naveen said the decision to facilitate the release was taken on humanitarian grounds and he expected the rebels will reciprocate and release the hostages unharmed at the earliest. But there was no word from the Maoists about release of the two hostages except a phone call from Maoist leader Jagabandhu that the deadline for fulfilment of their demand has been extended to April 7. Maoist interlocutor Dandapani Mohanty said he is yet to hear from the Maoists about the release of Basusco.
Meanwhile,Italian Ambassador Giacomo Sanfelice di Monteforte thanked Naveen for the support so far and liberation of Colangelo. I told him how this case of abduction of Paolo Basusco is closely followed in Italy, he told reporters.
The other top names in the list of 27 persons are Murla Neelam Reddy and his wife Setu Pangi. Reddy and Pangi,who hail from Andhra Pradesh,were Maoist cadre of 3rd company of the Central Regional Committee. Both,with Rs 50,000 reward money each declared on their heads by Andhra Pradesh police,were arrested in Narayanpatna block of Koraput in October 2010.
Others in THE LIST:
Bhima Padiami alias Nanda,Deba Madhi and Ganga Sodhi. Belong to Kalimela Dalam of CPI (Maoist) in Malkangiri. Arrested in January last year. Deba was involved in the killing of an ex-Zilla Parishad president.
Mangaraj Durua,a member of Darva division of CPI (Maoist) operating in Orissa-Chhattisgarh border. He was arrested from Malkangiri last month.
Narsi Kendruka and Joruka Kendruka,two women Maoists from Domsil village in Narayanpatna block. Have murder cases against them since 2010.
Suka Nachika,Bijay Tadingi and Chakra Tadingi. Suka is a cousin of CMAS chief Nachika Linga. He was arrested in Berhampur in February with Bijay and Chakra,two tribal students.
Arati Majhi,a 22-year-old tribal woman from Gajapati district. She was arrested in February 2010.
Rupuni Sirika,Miniak Sandal,Miniaka Jama,Saura Kartasiya,Nachika Suba,Wadeka Diba and Rabi Tadingi were among the CMAS members in the list.