Maoists call off ceasefire in West Bengal
Kolkata: Putting the onus of peace talks on the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government, the Maoists in a letter to the interlocutors, publicised on Monday, called off the mutual cease-fire agreed earlier.
"The one-month cease fire agreement we entered with you has expired Oct 30. Since then, there has been no communication on the issue either from the government or you. In wake of this, we declare the end of cease-fire," read the letter dated Oct 31 and signed by Communist Party of India-Maoist state secretary Akash.
The one-month truce agreement was signed Sep 30 between the Maoists and the interlocutors led by rights activist Sujato Bhadro. A team of interlocutors was appointed earlier by Banerjee to broker peace with the guerrillas.
The Maoists in the letter told interlocutors that the government "neither kept the promises nor it made clear its stand on the peace initiatives".
They also alleged the government of derailing the peace process by not withdrawing the joint forces and building up the Bhairav Vahini (army of goons allegedly raised by Trinamool Congress) which perpetrated atrocities on the people of Junglemahal (forested areas in western part of the state where the rebels have a stronghold).
The Maoists also put the onus of the peace initiative on the government.
"Friends, we want to meet you (interlocutors) and we will certainly meet but before that the government has to give in writing its agenda on the peace talks along with replies to the letters sent by us earlier. The government also has to give a written recognition to the peace agreement we had signed earlier," said Akash.
The Maoists had also written a letter to the peace brokers earlier demanding written commitment from the government over the peace initiatives.
The peace efforts, however, have hit a road block following the government`s reluctance to withdraw the forces from Junglemahal while the guerrillas making the removal of the security personnel a precondition for talks.
"They (Maoists) have called off the cease fire. However we are hopeful of the talks. We are discussing the issues and contemplating meeting Banerjee," Choton Das, one of the interlocutors, said.
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