Maoists set new deadline,won’t talk

A day after Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda threatened to kill Italian tour operator Paulo Basusco if his demands are not fulfilled

Written by Debabrata Mohanty | Bhubaneswar | Published: April 4, 2012 3:59 am

A day after Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda threatened to kill Italian tour operator Paulo Basusco if his demands are not fulfilled,Maoists in Koraput on Tuesday set April 5 as the deadline for fulfilling their demands for release of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA Jhina Hikaka.

In a new audiotape released by the Andhra-Orissa Border Special Zonal Committee secretary Chandramouli,the Maoists said the MLA will be released if “false cases” slapped against members and leaders of Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS) in Koraput and Malkangiri districts are withdrawn and they are released.

Rejecting any negotiation on the matter,Chandramouli said the government has to act by April 5,but refused any mediation for fulfilment of their demands. The rebels also assured the government that they would not cause any law and order situation once the CMAS activists are released.

Police officials in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh said the person who identified himself as Chandramouli is a different person than senior Maoist leader Varkapur Chandramouli,a former central committee member killed in an encounter by the Andhra Pradesh Police in December 2006.

Soon after the audiotape was released,the Maoists sent a letter purportedly written by Hikaka in which he appealed to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to agree to all demands of the Maoists. Hikaka wrote that “the Chief Minister did not seem concerned about his early release as he was a tribal”.

He said in the letter he is ready to resign if the Maoists’ demands are not fulfilled. Hikaka said his condition was fine. This is the second letter from Hikaka in the past eight days. In the first letter too,Hikaka had made the same appeal.

After the audiotape surfaced,the Chief Minister called a meeting with Chief Secretary B K Patnaik,Home Secretary U N Behera and DGP Manmohan Praharaj to take stock of the situation.

Naveen,meanwhile,invited CMAS leader Nachika Linga for talks to end the MLA hostage crisis. In the Assembly on Tuesday,he said his government was ready for talks on the release of some CMAS activists.

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