New Delhi: Naxals on Thursday extended the deadline for Odisha BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka's release till April 7. Meanwhile, the Italian ambassador is in Bhubaneshwar to meet Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik after the state government agreed to release 27 prisoners in exchange for the Italian tourist Paolo Bosusco and Jhina Hikaka.
Kaushalya Maji, wife of abducted BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka, requested Naxals to release her husband and solve the problems through talks.
Patnaik had on Wednesday said the government would facilitate release of 15 members of the Maoist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS), eight Left-wing extremists (LWEs) and four persons from the list of Odisha State Organising Committee of CPI (Maoist).
Patnaik had also made a fresh appeal to the Maoists to release Hikaka and Bosusco unharmed and in good health.
The Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of CPI (Maoist), which was behind Hikaka's abduction, had fixed
Thursday as the deadline for fulfillment of its demands, including the release of ultras and CMAS activists.
The other Maoist group holding Bosusco hostage has warned of danger to the Italian if any operation was launched to free him. They have demanded immediate release of seven persons, including Subhashree Das, the wife of top Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda.
Hikaka was abducted in Koraput district on March 24, while Italians Bosusco and Claudio Colangelo were taken hostage on March 14 while they were trekking in Kandhamal district.
The Maoists had released Colangelo as a "goodwill gesture" on March 25.