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April 6, 2012

Maoists refuse to release kidnapped Italian, issue fresh 96-hour deadline to Odisha Government

     Bhubaneswar: Maoists have refused to release Italian tour operator Bosusco Paolo and have issued a fresh 96-hour deadline to the Odisha Government to release seven jailed Naxals. In an audio message, Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda described the talks with the government as a "farce", and said the Italian will be not be released. Panda reiterated that he will kill Paolo if the state government fails to meet the fresh deadline. The threat from Panda comes even as Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had earlier agreed to fulfil the demands of the Maoists and decided to release 27 prisoners in exchange for the safe release of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA Jhina Hikaka and Bosusco. Patnaik had said, "15 Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS) members and eight Maoists from Koraput would be released from jail and four Maoists as demanded by Sabyasachi Panda will also be released." Of the 27 people to be released, 23 are from the Andhra Orissa Border Special Zonal Committee which abducted the MLA, and only four from the Sabyasachi Panda-led group that kidnapped the Italian. Italian Ambassador to India , Giacomo Sanfelice, had also welcomed the steps taken by Patnaik after meeting him in Bhubaneswar to get a first hand briefing of the situation.
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