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Maoists plan peoples’ court for MLA

Maoists on Wednesday accused the Odisha government of not taking steps on their demands and announced they would decide the fate of legislator Jhina Hikaka, who is in their captivity since the past over three weeks, in a peoples’ court.

The deadline the rebels had given for the government to decide on their demands ended Wednesday evening.

“We don’t have any faith on the government,” a rebel leader, who identified herself as Aruna, said in an audio message which was received by some reporters here and aired by some television channels.
“There is no point in extending deadline. The fate of Jhina Hikaka will be decided in a praja court (people’s court), people will decide on him,” she said without specifying any date when and where the praja court will be held. Hikaka was kidnapped by the Andhra-Odisha border special zonal committee of the Communist Party of India-Maoist in his home district of Koraput on March 24.

The Maoists have sought the release of 29 prisoners, mostly members of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS), which works mainly in the southern parts of the state, including Malkangiri and Koraput districts, on tribal-related issues. The government said on Tuesday it will seriously consider the withdrawal of prosecution (against the detainees) in suitable cases only after the rebels released Hikaka unharmed. The state announced to facilitate the release of about 25 people of those demanded by the Maoists. However, the Maoists said the government was not sincere in releasing the innocent villagers.

Meanwhile, the State Home Secretary U.N. Behera said in the evening that the government was not aware of the latest audio tape issued by the Maoists. Behera appealed to the rebels to release the hostage saying that the government has now decided to release 13 prisoners following due process of the law.
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