New Delhi: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on Monday that the Odisha government was willing to hold discussion with the Maoists over the abduction of two Italian nationals by the force. He said that the two, one of whom has been staying in Puri for the past 20 years, should be released immediately without any harm.
"The government has received the statement sent in by the Maoists asking for stopping all operations against them... but the Maoists must first stop the violence," Patnaik said.
"The Odisha government is willing to hold discussion with the Maoists. The two should be released immediately without any harm," he said, adding, "The Maoists should nominate their representatives without any further delay."
The Maoists had earlier set a deadline of Sunday evening for 13 demands to be met including an end to anti-Naxal operations in return for the release of the two Italians, who they abducted from Kandhamal on Sunday.