Bhubaneswar: The Maoists in Odisha, who have abducted Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA Jhina Hikaka, released a fresh audio tape on Saturday demanding the release of five more Naxals from jail, issuing a fresh deadline till April 10.
The Maoists have now demanded the release of top cadre Chenda Bhushanam alias Ghasi, who carried a reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head.
Ghasi, a dreaded Maoist, was arrested by the security forces in 2011.
Four other CMAS members whose release has been demanded by the Maoists are Gananath Patra, Suna Pangi, Singa Nachika and Walsi Wadeka.
The Maoist group has said, "We reject government's offer of releasing only 27 Naxals. Our demand is that the government should release five more people by April 10. After April 10, we will release Jhina Hikaka."
The fresh ultimatum comes from the Maoists who have abducted the MLA. They are the rival group of Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda, who has abducted Italian national Paolo Bosusco.
This comes hours after Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday strongly refuted the claims of Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda made in an audio tape, arguing that the Maoists had asked for the release of six Naxals, out of which the government was facilitating the release of five.
Patnaik pressed for the immediate release of Italian hostage Paolo Basusco in return for the release of the Maoists.
Panda had upped his demands again on Friday. In a fresh audio tape, he set a new four-day deadline for the Odisha government to release allegedly seven Naxals that he had named initially.
"We have given 96 hours' ultimatum to the government to release all seven Naxals. We will kill the Italian tourist if our demands are not met," Panda could be heard saying in the tape.