The hostage drama in the naxal area is taking toll on peace. First some Italian tourists were kidnapped and released, then an MLA, lastly a Collector from Chhattisgarh.
Regular negotiations with the Maoists who have made the kidnapping of various people have not much yielded positive results. Both the sides seem to be stern on their demands. But today the naxal released an audio message stating that the Laximipur, Odisha MLA, Jhina Hikaka will be released tomorrow. They further said that they conducted a Praja Court of 150 members, in which the MLA had given an undertaking that he would submit his resignation to his post. As per the undertaking the MLA has assured to distance himself from the ruling Biju Janata Dal.
The message went to clarify that the Praja Court had decided that the MLA should be released. "He will be handed over to his wife Koushalya and the Koraput-based lawyer Nihar Patnaik at 10 am in Balipeta near Narayanpatna," Aruna, a Maoist spokesperson, said on the tape, adding, "Hikaka will put in his papers after his release and has given a written undertaking in this regard in the Praja Court. You can't talk to him now but I assure you he is alright and in good health."
It may be noted Mr Hikaka's wife Ms Kousalya appealed to the Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC), the faction holding him hostage, to release him safely. "The Maoists didn't have any personal enmity with my husband. They have taken him so that their demands are met, I want to tell them that he is an honest man and they should free him and send him back safe and sound, I have my trust in the state government, they are trying their best... the Chief Minister has assured me that my husband will be brought back safely," she said. (With inputs from internet- AarKay)