New Delhi: The Centre on Saturday said Odisha
government was rightly talking to the Maoists for the safe
release of an abducted Italian and an MLA and any decision on
using force to rescue them has to be taken by the state.
Home Minister P Chidambaram said the only course available
to Odisha government was to hold negotiations with the
extremists for the safe release of the two hostages.
"There are two people in captivity so the state
government is right in appointing interlocutors to talk to the
CPI (Maoists) or any other group that may have abducted
the persons," he said at a press conference here.
Chidambaram steered clear of the issue of carrying out
any offensive against the abductors to rescue the Italian tour
operator and the ruling BJD MLA.
"If you are suggesting that some action should be taken
using security forces, that is not a matter to be discussed in
the public. And that is a decision the state government has to
take having regard to all the facts and circumstances. They
are the best judge of that," he said.
The Home Minister said he and Odisha Chief Minister
Naveen Patnaik have spoken to each other several times and the
Home Ministry officials are in regular touch with the Odisha
government officials to ease the situation.
"I have offered him (Patnaik) any assistance that he may
require.... The Chief Minister has acknowledged that his
officers and Government of India officers are in constant
touch with each other. They did not ask for any specific
assistance. They of course have asked for sharing of any
intelligence and as you know intelligence is being shared on
daily basis and sometimes it has been shared more than once,"
Asked whether it was not contrary to the central
government`s stand (that it would talk to the extremists once
they abjure violence) by engaging with the Maoists now,
Chidambaram said "it is not that we don`t speak until they
abjure violence. We have made them an offer for talks and we
said please come for talks".
"The condition is that while we talk, they should not
indulge in violence. They have rejected that offer. The onus
is upon them to say that while we welcome the talks, while we
are talking, there should not be any violence. Is that an
unreasonable stipulation? While the government of India or
state government engages the CPI (Maoists) in talks, surely
there should be no violence," he said.