Bhubaneshwar (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Maoist rebels are "ready" to release Paolo Bosusco, the Italian kidnapped in Orissa, through a "democratic
process". These are the words of Sabyasachi Panda, leader of the Naxalite group responsible for the seizure, recorded in an audio message released this morning to a national television broadcaster NDTV. In the release, Panda claims to have received a copy of the joint declaration signed by the Orissa government and mediators.
Yesterday, a local court ordered the release of Sushashree Panda, wife of the Maoist leader. Her release, along with the delivery of the Joint Declaration, were among the conditions imposed by the guerrillas to free the Italian hostage.
Panda's group, the Odisha State Organisin Committee (Osoc) seized Paolo Bosusco and Claudio Colangelo on March 14, in the district of Kandhamal. Colangelo was released March 25. The story of the two Italians became more complicated with the kidnapping of Jhina Hikaka, Assembly Parliamentarian from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Koraput district, by another Maoist group, the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zone Committee (Aobszc).
Several members of the opposition saw the seizure of the parliamentarian as a betrayal of agreements between the government and Maoists in Orissa. In exchange for electoral support, the ruling BJD party (the same as the kidnapped, ed) had secured the release of three Maoist cadres and a halt to anti-Maoist operation Green Hunt.