Talks with Maoists to continue: Bengal interlocutors

October 18th, 2011 - 6:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, Oct 18 (IANS) The team of interlocutors engaged by the West Bengal government to facilitate talks with the Maoists met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday and later said the dialogue process will continue.

“The dialogue process is on and it will continue,” said rights activists Sujato Bhadra, one of the interlocutors. He refused to divulge details of the meeting.

The team met Banerjee at the state secretariat. She had called the meeting to take stock of things following her warning to the rebels. The meeting was also attended by ministers, bureaucrats and police officers.

On her visit to Junglemahal (the forested areas in West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts where the Maoists are active), Banerjee Oct 15 gave a seven-day ultimatum to the rebels to choose between dialogue and arms.

She said that soon after coming to power in the state in May, her government initiated a peace process but the Maoists did not stop the bloodshed.

A day after the ultimatum, several posters appeared in Junglemahal in which the rebels had given life threats to Trinamool Congress leaders if Banerjee did not keep her pre-poll promise of withdrawing joint security forces and releasing the jailed Maoists.

Banerjee’s stance towards the Maoists evoked a mixed response from different quarters.

Governor M.K. Narayanan, a former national security advisor, termed Banerjee’s offer as “generous” but said the Maoists did not seem to accept the same.

“It is rather a game plan to bring the Maoists back to the table so that they do not indulge in violence,” Narayanan said.

Left front chairman Biman Bose Tuesday said: “I don’t know if the Maoists will listen to the interlocutors. However, if the peace process is successful and the rebels lay down arms, it’s good for all.”

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