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Hope of Italian's release brighten after mediators' appeal

Orissa,Terrorism, Sat, 31 Mar 2012 IANS

Bhubaneswar, March 31 (IANS) The chances of an early release of the second kidnapped Italian, held by Maoists in Odisha since March 14, brightened with the rebel-appointed mediators Saturday expressing satisfaction with the government's stand and appealing for the hostage's release.


Negotiators Dandapani Mohanty and B.D. Sharma said they discussed with the government on the 13 demands placed by the rebels and appreciated the state's effort for taking a serious view of the complex issues.


The mediators in a joint statement appealed the Maoists to release Bosusco Paolo, 54, on basic human considerations.


"We will be happy if the most important chapter concerning justice begins with withdrawal of cases against those who are struggling for their legitimate rights as citizens" they said.


Although there has been no response from the Maoists on the appeal, it is believed that the rebels may release the Italian in a day or two.


Paolo was abducted along with Claudio Colangelo, 61, from a forested area on the border of state's Ganjam and Kandhamal district.


The rebels last Sunday released Colangelo in a "good will gesture".


They have been however insisting the government to fulfill 13 demands for the release of Paolo, including a ban on the visit of tourists to the tribal areas, halt to anti-Maoist operations and release of several prisoners.


In the meanwhile, the state government has not made any progress on getting the release of ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) legislator Jhina Hikaka who has been held hostage by another group of leftwing extremists in a hilly area of Koraput district since March 24.


The group which has claimed responsibility for the abduction of the legislator has made almost more or less the same 13 demands. They have refused to appoint any negotiator on their behalf.


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