Odisha: Maoists to release MLA Hikaka Thursday

Maoists have decided to release Odisha legislator Jhina Hikaka Thursday after he promised to resign from the assembly and the primary membership of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), a rebel leader said.

A Maoist leader calling herself 'Aruna', in an audio message aired by a local television channel here, said the decision was taken in a people's court held Monday and Tuesday.
She said the legislator apologised to the rebels and villagers who participated in the people's court for not being able to solve the problems of the tribal people through the political process.

Kidnapped MLA Jhina Hikaka (File photo)

The people's court decided to release him after he announced that he would resign from the BJD as well as from the assembly soon after his release, the rebel leader said.
She also said the Maoists will hand him over to Nihar Ranjan Patnaik, a local lawyer, and Hikaka's wife Kaushalya in the presence of some mediapersons in Balipeta village of Narayanpatna area of Koraput district at 10 am Thursday.
However, there is still no official confirmation of the development. 
The left-wing extremists, who kidnapped 37-year-old Hikaka from Laxmipur in Koraput March 24, had earlier announced they would hold a people's court Wednesday where his fate would be decided.
The rebels had been demanding the release of 29 prisoners, mostly members of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS), which works mainly in the southern parts of the state, including Malkangiri and Koraput districts, on tribal-related issues.
The state government has agreed to release 25 of them but the guerrillas rejected the offer. The worry of the government had increased after a rebel leader a few days ago said the rebels wanted the authorities to release all members of the CMAS.
The left-wing extremists did not specify how many members of their outfit have been jailed in the state. The government also was reluctant to disclose the figure.

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