India: What happens when agreements are negotiated, but govt. promises were hollow?

Maoist leader warns Odisha of ‘consequences’

Bhubaneswar, May 21 — Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda has warned the Odisha government of consequences for not keeping promises made to secure the release of two Italians kidnapped by his group more than two months ago.

In an audio message released to the media late Sunday, which was also aired by local television channels, Panda, state organising secretary of the Communist Party of India-Maoist, said the government had promised to facilitate the release of several prisoners.

Besides it had also promised to fulfill other demands, including a halt on operations against the rebels and imposing a ban on tourism in tribal areas.

Accusing the government of not keeping those promises, Panda said his wife Subhashree had been released but had been framed with fresh charges. He added that another prisoner Arati Majhi was yet to come out of jail.

The guerrilla leader alleged that Majhi, a 22-year-old tribal woman was raped by security forces two years ago and was still in jail on a false charge. He said the government had been spreading lies through the media even though it had not fulfilled its promises.

Coming down heavily on the state government for launching an offensive against the rebels in the area controlled by his group, Panda said his “soldiers” had stayed away from violence ever since they announced a ceasefire following the abduction of two Italians.

He has threatened to resort to “revolutionary violence” if the government continues to attack them.

Panda’s group had kidnapped Italian tour guide Bosusco Paolo and an Italian tourist Claudio Colangelo March 14 from a forested area of Kandhamal district. The rebels had released Colangelo 11 days later as a “goodwill gesture”.

They, however, released Paolo only on April 12 after the state government signed an agreement with two Maoist-backed mediators, Dandapani Mohanty and tribal expert B.D. Sharma, that at least five prisoners named by the guerrillas would be released.

The government had also assured that other issues raised by the rebels would be resolved.


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