Kolkata: Despite her tough talk against the
Maoists, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today gave
the go-ahead to a group of interlocutors appointed by her for
talks with the ultras.
"The government wants to take forward the peace talks and
we have been assigned today for the job," human rights
activist Sujato Bhadra, who heads the interlocutors` team,
told reporters after over an-hour-and-a-half meeting with the
chief minister at the state secretariat.
He said there was discussion with the chief minister
regarding some recent incidents in Jangalmahal. "Such issues
will be brought to the notice of the major stake holders (the
Maoists) in Jangalmahal," he said without elaborating.
The group of interlocutors had held some rounds of talks
(presumably with the lower rung of the leadership).
Sources said that during the meeting with the
interlocutors, the chief minister expressed her displeasure
over the escalation in violence after a lull since the
Assembly elections in May.
She warned that the killings cannot go on when her
government has tried to broker peace and usher in development
initiatives in the region during the past four months since
she took over as chief minister.
Following the recent killing of three of her party
workers and a Jharkhand leader, Banerjee had on Septermber 26
told a meeting at Singur that the Maoists would have to choose
between talks and killing, and that "the two can`t go
Emphasising her government`s desire to hold dialogue
with them, she said she had no objection if they seek more
time for talks, but if they kill innocent persons and then
express a desire for talks, she would not agree.
State Governor M K Narayanan recently said the Maoists
had not responded to the Mamata`s offer for talks.
On Monday, Banerjee had called the Maoists `cowards`.