Koraput: Incarcerated convener of Maoist backed Chasi Muliya Adivasi Sangh (CMAS) Gananath Patra has hailed the Naxals’ effort to release him in exchange of safe release of two abducted Italian tourists. The Red rebels have demanded the release of jailed Gananath Patra, Subhashree Panda and Junus Pradhan among other demands in exchange of the release of Bosusco Paolo and Claudio Colangelo, whom they abducted from a forest on the Kandhamal-Ganjam border on March 14.
“I welcome the Maoists’ effort to release me from jail inexchange of the Italian tourists,” said Patra while being produced in a court in Koraput on Tuesday for his alleged involvement in abducting as many as 11 villagers of Almonda under Bandhugaon police limits in 2009 and for instigating CMAS to spread violence in Narayanpatna, Bandhugaon and neighbouring regions in Koraputs district. Patra was arrested from Bhubaneswar in Januray 27, 2010. Presently, Patra, a retired chemistry professor, is lodged in Koraput district jail for his involvement in at least six cases in the district.
While hailing the Maoist effort to release him, Patra, however, put a condition for his release from jail. “I will think of stepping out of jail only when all CMAS members who have been arrested on false charges are released. I alone don’t want to be released from jail,” he said.
In May 2011, Orissa high court had granted bail to Patra on a bond of Rs 30,000 and two sureties but the latter refused to furnish the bail, demanding release of over 100 CMAS activists arrested for rioting and attacking the Narayanpatna police station in 2009.
On December 29, 2011, a Koraput court had acquitted Patra of involvement in a cattle theft incident.