Bhubaneswar: Maoists Sunday released one of the two Italian hostages they had abducted March 14. The rebels said they will release the other Italian only after the government fulfills some of their demands.
After his release Claudio Colangelo said it was a frightening experience for him. He said he wants to visit India again but will be foolish to visit areas where there are Maoists. He said he wants to return to his native country Italy as soon as possible.
Appealing to the Maoists to release the second Italian immediately unharmed, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said he will request the two mediators who were named by the rebels to resume talks to speed up the process.
State Home Secretary U.N. Behera said the state government will continue its efforts to secure the release of the other Italian, Bosusco Paolo, and a Biju Janata Dal legislator.
Rebel leader Sabyasachi Panda, who is named as ‘Sunil’, handed over Colangelo, 61, to a select group of three journalists somewhere in Kandhamal district. The Maoists released the Italian following an “appeal from people and a cross-section of society”, Panda said.
The guerrillas abducted Paolo and Colangelo from a forested area on the border of state’s Ganjam and Kandhamal district March 14.
On Saturday, the rebels kidnapped ruling BJD legislator and a popular tribal leader Jhina Hikaka, 37, in a hilly area of Koraput district.
However, Panda said he is not responsible for abduction of the BJP legislator and it has not been done by his group.
The rebel leader also said he released Colangelo because the state government halted negotiations with the Maoist-named mediators citing violence from the Maoist side.
He asserted that there was no violence in the area commanded by his group after declaration of ceasefire by him. Panda is the organising secretary of the Orissa state committee of Communist Party of India-Maoist.
The two Maoist mediators, tribal expert B.D. Sharma said social activist Dandapani Mohanty, who had withdrawn from mediation expressed his happiness over the release of Colangelo and said the government could resume dialogue for the release of the other.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Sunday appealed to the rebels to also release the legislator immediately.