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Mar 20, 2012 at 09:29am IST

Italians abducted: Naxals issue fresh deadline

New Delhi: Naxal leader Sabyasachi Panda has reportedly issued a fresh audio tape regarding the abducted Italian nationals and set Tuesday evening as the new deadline for the state government to respond.

The message in the tape says that the two Italian tourists are safe and are being fed well. The Naxals have also announced a unilateral ceasefire and urged the odisha government to declare the halt of all operations in Maoist-infested areas.

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The Naxals said that they want the Odisha government to appoint jailed Moaist leader Narayan Sanyal among others as a negotiator. The others named are Dandhapani Mohanty who negotiated the release of Malkangiri collector last year, and Biswapriya Kanungo, a human rights activist and appealed to other Naxal groups to do the same.

"The government has received the statement sent in by the Maoists asking for stopping all operations against them... but the Maoists must first stop the violence," Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said.

"The Odisha government is willing to hold discussion with the Maoists. The two should be released immediately without any harm," he said, adding, "The Maoists should nominate their representatives without any further delay."

The Maoists had earlier set a deadline of Sunday evening for 13 demands to be met including an end to anti-Naxal operations in return for the release of the two Italians, who they abducted from Kandhamal on Sunday.