Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Wednesday agreed to fulfill the demands of the Maoists and decided to release 27 prisoners in exchange for the safe release of the BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka and the Italian tourist Bosusco Paolo.
Odisha Chief Minsiter Naveen Patnaik said, "15 Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS) members and eight Maoists from Koraput would be released from jail and four Maoists as demanded by Sabyasachi Panda will also be released."
Of the 27 people to be released, 23 are from the Andhra Orissa Border special zonal committee which abducted the MLA, and only four from the Sabyasachi Panda-led group that kidnapped the Italian. The names of the prisoners to be freed will be finalised by Thursday. But the government’s decision doesn’t necessarily mean the hostages will be released soon.
"We still do not know the names of the 27 people to be released. So it would be difficult for us to give our decision," Negotiator BD Sharma said.
According to the negotiators after the government announces the names of the people to be released from jail, the two Maoists group might convey their decision by releasing audio tapes through media on the release of the hostages as done earlier.