Govt Will Talk to Maoists if they Call Halt to Violence: Chidambaram

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram has said that the Centre is prepared to speak to Maoist rebels if they call a halt to violence, reported IANS.

“If you abjure violence, that is if you call a halt to violence, we are not asking you do anything more, we are prepared to talk to you on any (subject),” the minister was quoted as saying.

Chidambaram made the statement while talking to reporters after a meeting of top officials of West Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar in Kolkata.
He also pointed out that rebels had earlier spurned such an offer and so the government was obliged to carry on with its anti-Maoist operations, said report.

“As long as the Naxals indulge in violence, these operations will continue,” Chidambaram was quoted as saying.

In the meeting, chief ministers of West Bengal and Orissa, the two deputy chief ministers of Jharkhand and top officials of all four states were present to discuss the Maoist threat.

The minister noted that the anti-Maoist crackdown in these states had produced ‘slow but steady’ progress and cited the arrests of several key leaders of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist to back his assertion, said report.

“And contrary to what sections of the media and NGOs propagated a few months ago that there would be a massive carnage, no such thing has happened. We have made it very clear that the purpose of these operations is not to kill anyone.

“These are our own people, we care for them, we care for their lives. The object is to re-establish civil administration in areas now dominated by Naxalites. I think progress will be slow but steady,” he was quoted as saying.

The minister added: “You cannot measure the progress of the operation like a scoreboard in a cricket match. Progress is steady and slow. We will continue to make progress. In fact considerable progress has been made…”

Chidambaram also accepted that the security offensive had some inadequacies but said that they would be overcome, said report.

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