Laxmipur: Released from Maoist captivity after 33 days, BJD legislator Jhina Hikaka received a hero's welcome at his native village in Koraput district. His feet were washed with tamarind water in accordance with tribal culture by women and he was garlanded as soon as he arrived.

Stepping into his house, he hugged his two sons Rockey and Rinku, aged 10 and eight, unable to control his tears of joy.

"I love my 'Bopa' (father). I thank god for bringing back my father from the clutches of Maoists," Rockey cried.

Rinku, however, continued to cry and even chocolates offered by his parents could not stop his tears. "I don't want them. I am happy that my father is back. We will play together," he said his voice choking.

Hikaka's 60-year-old mother Ruseya said, "Our tribal goddess has understood our misery. She has returned my son."

The legislator's wife Kausalya Majhi, who received her husband at a mango orchard at Balipeta village where he was released, said, "I am thankful to the tribals and the media for their support. I was very anxious to see him."

Vijaylaxmi, a village woman, said, "As soon as I came to know about Hikaka's release, I started making garlands for him."

Women in the village lined up to meet the legislator, while the men danced to drum beats to welcome their hero, who was elected to the Odisha Assembly for the first time in 2009.

(Agencies)