New Delhi/Bastar: A day after Naxals
unleashed another attack in Chattisgarh, Home Minister P
Chidambaram on Tuesday made a fresh offer to hold talks if
they "suspend" violence even for just 72 hours, but the
Left-wing extremists rejected it.
"Maoists should say 'We will abjure violence. We will
suspend violence and actually suspend violence for 72
hours'. We will get the chief ministers on board. We will
respond. We will fix a date, time and place for talks and let
the Maoists come for the talks on anything they wish to talk,"
The offer was dismissed by Naxal leader Ramanna who said
in Bastar district in Chhattisgarh, "We cannot give up our
He said the Naxals had responded to the Home Minister's
earlier offer for talks. "But the government did not believe
us. There is a heavy presence of security forces and their
atrocities are continuing every day," he said.
Ramanna said the attack on the civilian bus in Dantewada
district yesterday was aimed at Special Police Officers who
were travelling on it. Thirty-five passengers including SPOs were
killed when their bus blown up by the Naxals.
"The administration used civilians as human shields, so
they got killed. But I regret this," he said.
Chidambaram contended that the CPI(Maoist) never
responded "seriously" to the earlier offer of talks. "They are
indulging in gimmickry. I am afraid media plays up that
gimmick," he said.
Asked whether government forces will also halt all
operations against them during the period of ceasefire, the
Home Minister responded, "That goes without saying."
Chidambaram said "if they observe complete suspension of
violence for just 72 hours, it goes without saying that police
will not take any action against any CPI(Maoist) activist,
hideouts or camps."
He said complete suspension means there should not be
any attack on infrastructure, any landmine blast or any
targeting of telephone towers.
First Published: Tuesday, May 18, 2010, 23:25