Bhubaneswar: A day after Odisha Chief minister Naveen Patnaik announced the names of 27 persons to be set free from jail in exchange for the release of Italian citizen Basusco Paolo (55) and MLA Jhina Hikaka (37) from Maoist captivity, rebel leader Sabyasachi Panda issued a fresh audiotape on April 6, saying that Paolo would not be released for now as the government had been insincere in its approach to solve the problem.
“The government has made a farce out of the talks with the mediators. If the government does not fulfill our demands in the next 96 hours (four days), we will be forced to take extreme steps,” Panda said in the audiotape released to the media.
Panda said they had asked for release of “innocent” persons, who were languishing in jail due to fabricated cases and re-arrest after being freed by courts, and for action against erring police officers involved in cold blooded murders as per court and Human Rights Commission orders.
“But the government has announced release of only three persons and has not even done any agreement with the mediators,” he said, adding that he had released one of the Italians, Claudio Colangelo (60), on March 25 as a “goodwill” gesture, but the government had yet to reciprocate.