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Maoist Rebels Release Indian Lawmaker

Member of Orissa state legislature Jhina Hikaka walks towards Balipeta village in Koraput district in India after being released by Maoist rebels on April 26, 2012.
Member of Orissa state legislature Jhina Hikaka walks towards Balipeta village in Koraput district in India after being released by Maoist rebels on April 26, 2012.

Maoist rebels in eastern India have freed a state lawmaker after holding him captive for more than a month.

Jhina Hikaka, a member of the Orissa state assembly, was released from a remote jungle hideout on Thursday.  He told reporters he was held in adverse conditions, but treated well.

The rebels said Hikaka had agreed to resign from his post in exchange for his release.  

The lawmaker was abducted on March 24.

Rebels in Orissa recently released two Italian men who were also kidnapped last month in another part of the state.  A district officer in the central state of Chhattisgarh remains captive.

Maoists say they are fighting for the rights of the poor and landless against what they say are severe inequities in land acquisition and natural wealth distribution.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week said that the insurgency continues to pose one of the biggest threats to India's internal security, currently affecting nine states.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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