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PC to Maoists: End violence, let's talk

PC to Maoists: End violence, let's talk

Author: Express News Service
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: October 31, 2009
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pc-to-maoists-end-violence-lets-talk/535555/0

Introduction: Within hours, Maoists reject Chidambaram's offer to discuss land, industry, forest rights Urging the CPI(Maoist) to halt violence - rather than lay down arms - Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today said that the Central Government was ready to facilitate talks between them and the state governments on all matters including land acquisition, forest rights and industrialization.

Within hours, the CPI(Maoist) rejected any possibility of negotiations with the Government making it clear that laying down arms meant "betrayal of the people's interests". In fact, the Maoists said an agreement could be reached if the Centre gave up its "illogical" and "obstinate" stand that they should abjure violence.

A senior leader of the CPI (Maoist), identified by the name Azad, and said to be spokesperson of the group's central committee, issued a two-page statement saying "we have taken up arms for the defence of the people's rights and for achieving their liberation from all types of exploitation and oppression."

Earlier, the Home Minister said: "The violence must end. The State - the Central Government and the State Governments - have a duty to end the violence. It is with that objective that we have made a simple and straightforward appeal to the CPI (Maoist): 'Halt the violence.' These are three simple words, and I do not see why they should be subjected to tortuous interpretation and analysis," Chidambaram said while presenting his ministry's report card for the month of October.

"On behalf of the Central Government I wish to say once again that the CPI (Maoist) should halt the violence and the Central Government would persuade the State Governments to talk to the CPI (Maoist) on all matters including their concerns on land acquisition, forest rights, industrialization and development. I regret to say that the response so far has been disappointing," the Home Minister added.

He also said that the Centre had never asked the Maoists to lay down arms since it was not a realistic expectation. "We have always asked them to halt violence," he said, adding that they should come forward to talks if they considered themselves the serious champions of the poor.

"The central committee of CPI(Maoist) makes it crystal clear that laying down arms means a betrayal of people's interests...However, an agreement could be reached by both sides on a ceasefire if Manmohan (Singh) and Chidambaram give up their irrational, illogical, impractical, absurd an obstinate stand that the Maoists should abjure violence," the CPI (Maoist) said today.

The Maoists called for disbanding of mining and "other so-called development projects" that lead to displacement of the tribals, scrapping of MoUs with "imperialist MNCs like Vedanta and big business houses like Tatas, Mittals, Essar, Jindal etc." "If these are fulfilled, then one can think of talks to discuss on the deeper issues that are blocking the real development of our country," it said.

October has seen major strikes by the Maoists. On October 6, the body of Francis Induwar, Inspector, Special Branch, Jharkhand police was found with his head severed in Khunti district, Jharkhand. On October 8, the Maoists killed 17 personnel of the Maharashtra police in Gadchiroli in Maharashtra. Then, on October 20, two policemen of the West Bengal police were killed and the OC of Sankrail PS was kidnapped by the CPI (Maoist). On October 25, there was a serious incident in the NMDC mines area in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh when four members of a routine CISF patrol were killed and two injured in an IED explosion. On October 27, the CPI (Maoist) and their supporters in the PCPA held the Rajdhani Express with 1,250 passengers hostage for over five hours.

In the last two days, violent incidents have been reported in West Bengal (CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress cadres shot dead); Jharkhand (2 school buildings blown up); Andhra Pradesh (Congress worker shot dead); and Chhattisgarh (1 SPO and 1 villager killed).

Meanwhile, asked about the Naxal threat, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership summit in the capital, said, "We are a functioning democracy and also there are occasions when there are differences of opinion among various leaders of our own coalition...Let there be no doubt, law and order as I said, is the primary responsibility of every civilised state and whatever comes in the way of maintenance of law and order will be dealt with as it ought to be dealt with."

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