Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday appealed to the Maoists to release the two abducted Italian tourists in Ganjam district bordering Kandhamal and said that the government was open to ‘any kind of negotiation under the law’.

"I appeal to the Left-wing extremists to immediately release the foreign tourists on humanitarian ground. Odisha government is open to any kind of negotiation with the kidnappers under the law," he said.

The Chief Minister said that the state government has informed the Ministries of External Affairs and Home Affairs about the incident.

"I reiterate my appeal to the Left-wing extremists not to take any drastic step. I also condemn this heinous crime. No one will condone this kind of act in a civil society," Patnaik said.

The Italian Consul General is likely to arrive in Bhubaneswar this evening in the wake of the abduction and will review the situation with the state government, official sources said.

Chief Secretary B K Patnaik said two Italian tourists, Bosusco Paolo and Claudio Colangelo, who were on a trekking tour on the Ganjam-Kandhamal border, were abducted by Maoists on Saturday.

They had come from Puri by a vehicle and had ventured into the forested area despite being warned of the Maoist menace by the Daringibadi police station, he said.

They were accompanied by a driver and a cook, Patnaik said, adding that the Maoists, however, released the two along with the vehicle.

The Maoists, who claimed responsibility for the abduction of the foreign tourists through some private news channels around midnight, however, said the kidnapping had taken place on March 14.

India closely monitors developments

India is in touch with Italy to facilitate assistance through authorities concerned in connection with the kidnapping of two Italian tourists who were abducted by Maoists from a tribal-dominated area in Odisha, official sources said on Sunday.
The Ministry of External Affairs contacted Italy after the abduction that took place on Saturday night, the sources said.
Odisha's Director General of Police Manmohan Praharaj said, "There is information about abduction of two persons by Maoists in Kandhamal district. Further details are awaited."
State Home Secretary U N Behera said the abduction took place on Saturday night.
Kandhamal District Collector RP Patil said the incident was believed to have taken place in the bordering area of Kandhamal and Ganjam districts and the situation was being closely monitored though no detailed information was available immediately.
A senior police officer said the foreigners, who had visited the area on March 12 along with two others from Puri, were identified as Bosusco Paolo and Claudio Colangelo.