One Italian Released, the Other in Crux of a Question the Government must Answer

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Italian tourist Claudio Colangelo, held hostage since March 14 by Maoists, has been released at the place of his abduction in Kandhamal in the afternoon of March 25, in a hope that the government would understand the positive gesture and stop state terror unleashed on progressive ultras and fulfill the pending promises made during earlier negotiations incorporated in the instant charter of 13 demands.

Release of the other Italian, Paolo Bosusco, would depend on government response to the instant gesture, leader Sabyasachi Panda has said while handing over Claudio to a team of media persons.

To a private TV channel, he, however, has given a reason of zeroing in on the Italians. In the guise of tourists they were trying to track private life style of tribal women and capturing pictures of their natural lustier as if they were commodities for joy of the foreigners. Taking them to hostage was meant to tell them as well as to the world outside, that tribal women of Orissa living in deep forests are not commodities of tourists interest and must not be considered so, Panda has stated.

Paolo, who has not been released, hails from a place in North Italy and has been staying in Puri since 23 years, is a tourist visa holder. He is working under a cover that he has contrived and christened as ‘Orissa trekking and Adventure’ with its office on Chakratirtha Raod. This being a commercial venture, how he is allowed to operate it is a conundrum.

The progressive ultras having taken him to hostage and having not released him with the man he had taken for the “adventure trekking” is a matter that makes the government answerable on how the Italian is allowed and by whom so allowed to operate the “trekking and adventure” venture in stark contravention of visa terms.

A detail investigation into the Italian’s activities in Orissa is now a must for the government.

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