Bhubaneswar: Maoists today (Thursday) released Odisha legislator Jhina Hikaka in the state’s Koraput district after holding him captive for more than a month.
Reporters and photographers surrounded a relieved and healthy looking Hikaka as he came with a group of villagers to a mango garden at Balipeta, over 500km from here, at about 10.30am.
Emotions ran high when the 37-year-old Biju Janata Dal (BJD) legislator, wearing a green kurta, hugged his wife Kaushalya and seconds after both broke down in tears.
“We’re glad that he is safe and unharmed,” party colleague Baijayant Panda told reporters.
The leftwing extremists, who kidnapped Hikaka from Laxmipur in Koraput March 24, had on Wednesday announced that a ‘praja’, people’s, court decided to release him after he apologised to the rebels and the local villagers.
A Maoist leader calling herself ‘Aruna’, in an audio message aired by a local television channel here, had said the decision to release him was taken after he promised to resign from the assembly and the primary membership of the ruling BJD.