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Agnivesh lauds Patnaik's decision to release 27 Naxals

New Delhi, Fri, 06 Apr 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Apr 6 (ANI): Social activist Swami Agnivesh on Friday said the decision to release 27 Maoists for securing the safe release of abducted Biju Janata Dal MLA and an Italian is a welcome step.

Agnivesh praised Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for the courage shown by him at this crucial juncture.

"He (Naveen Patnaik) has taken a risk, but taken a good initiative as a chief minister. I was waiting for this to take place. The decision to release 27 Maoists from jails is a welcome step. It would be wrong to say that this is like bowing down or surrendering. The state government has to suffer at its level," said Agnivesh.

"The chief minister has come to the fore and taken the responsibility on his shoulders so that there is no doubt and made an offer from his side. If the 27 Maoists are released by today evening, then I am sure that the major demands of the Maoists get fulfilled," he added.

Agnivesh further said the Maoists should release the MLA and the Italian as soon as these demands are met either by today evening or tomorrow so that a relationship of trust is built between the two sides.

"Once a relationship of trust develops then I am sure this will be effective in carrying the talks forward," he added.

Agnivesh said there is a crisis of confidence between the Maoists and the government.

"They (Maoists and government) are not trusting each other. I would congratulate Naveen Patnaik for the step taken by him, which is being criticized by some. He has taken this decision will full courage and he should carry on with it. This will be a very effective step in the path of solutions to the Maoist problems," he added.

Agnivesh further said: "The Maoists have repeatedly extended the deadline that was set by them. As per the available information, they have not injured any of the hostages. By releasing one Italian without putting any condition from their side, they have also introduced themselves that we are not abducting anybody for the purpose of killing."

The Odisha Government had earlier on Thursday announced the names of the 27 persons, who will be released in exchange for the abducted Biju Janata Dal MLA Jhina Hikaka and an Italian named Boscusco Paolo from the captivity of Maoists.talian Boscusco Paolo was kidnapped along with fellow Italian named Clandio Colangilo. The latter was released by the Maoists last month after spending 11 days in captivity.

Hikaka was kidnapped near Toyaput after a large group of armed men stopped him as he was being driven through a hilly area some 500 kilometers away from Bhubaneswar on March 24.

Hikaka's kidnappers have warned that the life of the tribal MLA could be in danger if the government attempts to search or secure his release through a security operation. he statement in Telugu listed demands, including a halt to combing operations and release of several rebels and tribals lodged in jails in Koraput, Malkangiri and Berhampur. Refusing to hold talks through mediators on their demands for release of Hikaka, it asked the state government to make known its stand through media. (ANI)

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