Jailed Maoists happy over swap deal

BERHAMPUR: Arati Majhi, who has been in jail for over two years for Maoist activities, was happy when chief minister Naveen Patnaik announced her name among 26 others to be set free in exchange of BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka and Italian tourist Bosusco Paolo. Besides Majhi, three others Siku Nachika, Chakra Kadinga and Rukuni Sirika are lodged in the Berhampur Circle Jail.

Majhi (23) has six Maoist-related cases pending against her. She came to know of her release plan from newspapers. “She appeared very excited and hoped Maoists accept the deal,” a jail officer said. Like Arati, the other inmates likely to be freed are also happy, jailor Sushant Kumar Rout said.

Majhi was arrested by police in Gajapati district on February 2010 for attacking a forest beat house at Paniganda, burning of four passenger buses and tower within Adava police limits, while Nachika and Kadinga were arrested from Berhampur in February this year for being overground Maoist activists.

Sirika allegedly involved with the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha movement was lodged in the Koraput jail. She was shifted to Berhampur for medical treatment, the jail officer said. They all want the Maoists to accept the offer, the officer said, adding that none of them was indisciplined. “When one is going to be set free it is obvious that person will be happy,” said Upendra Nayak, Majhi’s lawyer.


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