Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, July 18:
Claudio Colangelo, the Italian tourist who spent a week in captivity at Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda’s jungle hideout on the Ganjam-Kandhamal border in Odisha before being released in March, 2012, expressed ‘relief’ at the arrest of his former captor.
“My first reaction to Sunil’s ( Sabyasachi) capture is one of great relief. At least he has not been killed in an exchange of fire ! I have been suffering all this while reading disturbing news about Maoists getting killed. I have been thinking about those youngsters who lose their lives for an ideal -whether wrong or right,” Colangelo said in an exclusive emailed response to OST after the Maoist leader’s arrest.
“I always hoped that Sunil would surrender one day or the other. However, he has now been arrested,” Colangelo said.
Although he abducted me and pushed my family into great despair, I cannot help wishing him well.
The Italian citizen said though he didn’t quite agree with Sabyasachi’s theory of ‘armed struggle’, the time I spent in his captivity allowed him the the opportunity of discussing with him a whole lot of issues.” I may not agree with him, but I respect his ideals and his sense of commitment to those ideals,” he said.
“He always treated us (me and Paolo) with respect and kindness. He also behaved respectfully with his own cadres,’ Colangelo said.
“Going by what I have experienced during my days at his camp, I cannot believe he is being described as a killer and a violent person by some. I beg to differ,” Colangelo said about his one time captor.
“I hope his cadres (if there is anyone still left ) would now decide to abandon the path of armed fight and violence and return to the mainstream,” he signed off.