Agnivesh to discuss Maoist talks with Hazare SaturdayApril 15th, 2011 - 7:36 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 15 (IANS) Rights activist Swami Agnivesh will discuss the feasibility of Anna Hazare joining the peace talks with Maoist guerrillas when he meets the social reformer here Saturday.
“I believe talks should be initiated to solve the Maoist issue. I will discuss the issue in detail with Anna (Hazare) here Saturday,” Agnivesh told IANS Friday.
Agnivesh said there was a feeling among civil society leaders and the public that talks were the only solution to the Maoist violence, which has claimed thousands of lives in recent years.
“Anna’s victory on the Lokpal bill issue has given hope that he can help solve the Maoist issue,” Agnivesh said. “There is a feeling among civil society that Hazare is suited to facilitate a solution.”
Agnivesh said the Supreme Court move Friday to grant bail to Binayak Sen, a rights activist and medical doctor sentenced to life in Chhattisgarh on charges of sedition and links with Maoists, was a step in the “right direction”.
“I do not think sentencing people to life terms, for only the crime that they had interacted with grassroots level activists, will solve the Maoist problem,” said Agnivesh, who was among the activists gathered at the Supreme Court for the ruling on Sen.
Agnivesh had addressed a huge Adivasi meeting last Sunday at Jagdalpur, the district town in the south Bastar region of Chattisgarh, where he announced his proposal for negotiations with Maoists under the leadership of Hazare.
Agnivesh had gone to Chhattisgarh immediately after attending the meeting at Jantar Mantar Saturday, when Hazare called off his 97-hour fast to press for a stringent anti-graft legislation.
” I will invite Hazare to visit Bastar. I appeal to the Maoists to shun violence,” Agnivesh said at the meeting organised by the Adivasi Mahasabha. The meeting was held in the backdrop of recent violent incidents in south Bastar region where the houses of tribals were burnt during a gun battle between the security forces and the Maoists.
Agnivesh said that while civil society members had appreciated his proposal, he had received no response from the Maoists.
“But the response from the Chattisgarh government has been negative,” he said. “(Chief Minister) Raman Singh has said that people like Agnivesh will keep coming to Chattisgarh and utter what they like but the counter-insurgency operations will continue.”
“I want to recall that he is the same chief minister who said that dialogue is the only way out, while appreciating my efforts for facilitating the release of five policemen abudcted by the Maoists in February this year,” Agnivesh said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said on several occasions that Maoist violence was the “gravest threat to India’s internal security”. In 2010 alone, around 300 policemen and 700 civilians were killed in Maoist attacks and counter-attacks by forces, official records say.
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Tags: adivasi, anna hazare, bastar, chattisgarh, chhattisgarh, civil society leaders, grassroots level, gun battle, jagdalpur, jantar mantar, last sunday, maoist, maoist guerrillas, maoists, medical doctor, peace talks, sedition, social reformer, step in the right direction, violent incidents