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Italian hostage crisis: Chidambaram says Centre ready to help Orissa

New Delhi, Wed, 21 Mar 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Mar 21 (ANI): Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday rejected Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's charges that the Centre was not helping his state to resolve the Italian hostage crisis.


"So far, we have not received any specific request, whatsoever, for any assistance from the Government of Orissa in this regard. We are ready to help them and provide whatever assistance they need in resolving the hostage crisis," Chidambaram told media outside parliament.


"Well, if he has actually said that, then I am very disappointed. The chief minister spoke to me on Sunday. I was on tour, and then, I sent him a message that call me a little later. I offered him every help. He did not ask for anything. He said I am just keeping you informed. The Home Secretary (R.K. Singh) told me yesterday and today that he has spoken to the chief secretary (Tarun Kanti Mishra) twice and he has spoken to the DGP (Manmohan Praharaj) once and he has offered them any kind of help, which the state government will want. But no specific request has been made until I left my office a few minutes ago. So, I don't think the chief minister should be making these statements without any basis," he added.


Chidambaram's statement comes a day after Patnaik blamed the Centre for not helping the state in the Italian abduction case.


The Maoists have suggested the names of social activists B.D. Sharma and Prafulla Samantra as mediators. Patnaik had earlier rejected the name of Narayan Sanyal as he has been convicted of several crimes and is presently lodged in jail.


The Maoists had earlier suggested the name Biswapriya Kanungo who had declined to act as a mediator alleging that the government had violated the agreement last time he acted as a negotiator.


Samantra also expressed his inability to take part in the negotiations process. He said he has been involved in democratic movements for land rights and against big companies, but the state government has no faith in him.


Maoists kidnapped Bosusco Paolo, 54 and Claudio Colangelo, 61 and have kept them as hostages on the excuse that they were believed to have taken objectionable photographs of tribal women in Kandhamal-Ganjam border area of Orissa.


It is reported that the Maoists want the State Government to stop all combing operations and initiate dialogue with them.


The Maoists have demanded the state government to act on the 13-point charter of demands, which includes the release of political prisoners and the ending of Operation Greenhunt. (ANI)


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