Bhubaneswar: The talks between Maoist mediators and Odisha Government representatives to secure the release of the Italian tourist Bosusco Paolo (54) held hostage by Maoists since March 14, resumed today, after a day’s break.
The negotiation began shortly after the arrival of former bureaucrat and social activist B.D Sharma, one of the nominees of the Maoists to hold talks with State Government mediators, official sources said.
Three officials representing the Government side namely Home Secretary U N Behera, SC/ST Secretary S K Sarangi and Panchayatiraj Secretary P K Jena engaged in talks with B D Sharma and Dandapani Mohanty, the two maoist-backed mediators.
It is noteworthy to mention that, fresh talks to resolve the Italian hostage crisis began on Monday night, after Sabyasachi Panda, a rebel leader known as Sunil, who has claimed responsibility for the abduction of the Italians, in an audio message aired by television channels on Monday, demanded release of some people arrested for Maoist activities, to ensure the secure release of Paolo Bosusco, else they would be compelled to take ‘extreme step’ against the hostage.
However, negotiations could not be held yesterday as B. D Sharma was away from Bhubaneswar for a day, official sources said.
Meanwhile, with only a day left for the deadline set by the abductors for the safe release of BJD MLA, Jhina Hikaka and as there was no news on the extension of the deadline, despite the government’s appeal yesterday, the Assembly today adopted a unanimous resolution introduced by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, appealing to the Maoists to free the MLA immediately.
Source: 360 NS