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Orissa assembly adjourns over MLA abduction row

Bhubaneswar , Mon, 26 Mar 2012 ANI

Bhubaneswar, Mar.26 (ANI): Proceedings in the Orissa state assembly were adjourned on Monday following an uproar over the abduction of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) legislator Jhina Hikaka.

Opposition legislators walked into the Well of the House to protest before Speaker Pradip Amat and ignored Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik while he made a speech.

Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh spoke against the adjournment in Bhubaneswar.

"We do not know why, on three occasions, the assembly was adjourned. There were only three minutes that the House met on Saturday. In protest, we are there in the House. We said we will be there till Monday, and we expected that today something will come out (but) you see, nothing seems to come out. No statement by the chief minister, no appeal by anybody, (even the) speaker is silent," Singh said.

He went on to accuse the state government of failing to secure the release of Hikaka, a legislator from the state's Laxmipur constituency.

"Already the abductors, the Maoists of Srikakulam zone, and their assistant command claimed responsibility. It is also headline news but unfortunately the Chief Minister is misleading. Not that I said that he is misleading, but Mr Dandapani Mohanty, who is one of the negotiators on behalf of the Maoists. He also told the media that the Chief Minister is misleading," Singh said.

Hikaka was kidnapped near Toyaput by a large group of armed men, as he was being driven through a hilly area some 500 kilometres away from Bhubaneswar on Saturday morning.

His abduction comes just a day prior to the release of Italian tourist Claudio Colangelo, who along with tour guide Paolo Bosusco, was taken hostage by Maoists while swimming in a river in the state's remote Ganjam district on March 14.

The incident is believed to be the first time the rebels have targeted foreigners.

The fighters claim they took the Italians because they were taking photographs of indigenous tribeswomen bathing in the river.

Colangelo was released to a group of reporters from Indian news network NDTV on Sunday (March 25).

Also known as Naxals, the Maoists have fought a decades-long war against the government in a wide swathe of central India. They say they are fighting for the poor and landless, and they often back farmers in land disputes with big business.

The government calls them India's main internal security threat, and an obstacle to higher growth in Asia's third-largest economy. (ANI)

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