Mamata renews offer of talks to Maoists

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee renewed her offer of talks to Maoists and asked them to work for the development of `junglemahal` area.

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister
Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday renewed her offer of talks to Maoists
and asked them to work for the development of `junglemahal`

"I call upon those who have misunderstood me and
again extend my offer of talks and to work jointly with the
government for the development of junglemahal," Banerjee
told reporters here.

"I extend my offer to those also who are carrying out
an ideological struggle. Restore peace in junglemahal and help
speed up development," she said.

In an obvious reference to Maoists` demand to free
their leaders after she first offered talks on July 7 and
followed it up with a two-day visit to junglemahal from July
12, she proposed release of 52 political prisoners.

The proposal for freeing the 52 political prisoners
was made by a government-appointed committee headed by Justice
(retd) Moloy Sengupta.

Banerjee who had asked the Maoists to lay down arms
and promised compensation and to take care of their families
while announcing a package for the three districts, said, "We
are keeping a watch on the situation and will certainly take
more such steps once peace is restored."

On the release of the 52 prisoners, Banerjee said,
"This is a bold decision in the shortest possible time by our
government which completes two months today."

These prisoners include some Naxalites and members of
the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation and Greater Coochbehar
People`s Committee beside others, following a demand by the
Bandi Mukti Committee, a pressure group for the release of
political prisoners.

Banerjee said of the total 78 political prisoners
whose release has been recommended by the Justice Sengupta
Committee, the remaining 26 would be reviewed on a case by
case basis.

"We want them to lead a normal and peaceful life and
if they encounter difficulty, our government will consider
their socio-economic condition and come forward to help them,"
she said.

"This step is in accordance with good governance and
commitment to the people," she said.


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