New Delhi: Under continuous pressure to solve the hostage crisis, the Odisha government on Saturday finally agreed to release five Maoists out of 6 prisoners demanded by them (Maoists) to release an Italian national and BJD MLA.

Earlier on Friday, the Maoists rejected the swap offer of freeing 27 prisoners and threatened to take the extreme step if their demands were not met within 96 hours. In an audio message, Maoists said the list of prisoners proposed to be freed for release of Italian Paolo Bosusco is unacceptable. However, the ultras opted to maintain silence over the fate of abducted BJD MLA.

Top leader of the Maoist Odisha State Organising Committee Sabyasachi Panda had demanded immediate release of six persons, including his wife Subhashree Das alias Mili Panda.

Patnaik Appeals to Maoists

After agreeing to free five prisoners, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has appealed to Maoists to release Italian national and BJD MLA.

Earlier on March 14, two Italian nationals, Bosuscu (54) and Claudio (61) were abducted by Maoists on the excuse that they were believed to have taken objectionable photographs of tribal women in Kandhamal-Ganjam border area. However, on March 25, the rebels released Claudio in a good will gesture but Bosusco remained in the captivity of Maoists.

On March 24, Maoists abducted Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka while he was returning home from Koraput district. The kidnapping of the MLA led to abrupt suspension of talks between Maoist negotiators and the state government.