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'Paolo to be freed after Maoists feel govt is serious'

March 25, 2012 21:34 IST
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A top Maoist leader on Sunday said they would release Paolo Bosusco, the other Italian national still held captive by them, only after they feel that the Odisha government was serious about their demands.

He also asked mediators to continue negotition with the state government to resolve the hostage crisis.

"We have released one of the two Italians on humanitarian ground. However, we cannot release the other unless we feel the state government is taking our demands seriously," Sabyasachi Panda, secretary of Odisha State Organising Committee of Maoists, told a private tv channel.

The Maoist leader also said they would not take up arms or indulge in any kind of violence till the negotiations were over. However, he could not give a guarantee about the activities of other groups operating in the state.

Admitting that they abducted the Italians from Kandhamal district, Panda said, "We had no intention to take any foreign national into captivity. However, our cadre mistook the duo to be intelligence wing personnel."

Panda, who admitted differences among Maoist groups operating in the state, said the ultras had provided all available facilities for the amenities of the foreigners.

"We have given them good food and provided playing cards and chess for time pass," he said, adding Maoists were not inhuman "as projected by the government".

Though soft towards the foreigners, the Maoist leader said they don't accept their idea of "cultural globalisation."

"During their stay in our camp, the Italians have expressed their point of view. They do not feel ashamed of taking picture of half-nude tribal women. The Maoists are opposed to such ideas," Panda said.

"The hostages told us during their stay in the jungle that they have no problem if any Indian takes semi-nude picture of their women in Italy. We do not accept this view of the Italians," Panda said, claiming the mediators would discuss this particular issue with the state government.

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