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Apr 06, 2012 at 07:25am IST

Odisha Chief Minister gives in, names Naxals to be released for hostages

Kandhamal: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday announced the names of the 27 Maoist leaders and supporters including Sabyasachi Panda's wife - to be released from prison in exchange for the two hostages. But there's no word on when and how, and indeed whether Naxals have agreed. Though one faction has extended the deadline to April 7.

"We will initiate legal procedure to facilitate the release of these people from jail. This is done by us on humanitarian ground and hope the Maoists will reciprocate," Patnaik said.

But what isn't clear yet is when the Italian national and abducted MLA Jhina Hikaka will be released?

Meanwhile Italian Ambassodar Giacomo Sanfelice to India met Patnaik in Bhubaneswar to get a first hand briefing of the situation.

"I am glad of the steps taken by the Chief Minister and appeal for the safe release of Paolo (abducted Italian national)," Sanfelice said.

On several occasion during the ongoing hostage crisis the Naxals used to convey their decision to the government by sending audio tapes. It is believed this time too they might do the same. However, sources say that it might take a couple days more before it is clearly known when and how the hostages might be released by the hostages.