Responding to Mamata Banerjee's deadline to them for laying down arms in Jungle Mahal, Maoists on Saturday said the West Bengal government was "not serious" about talks and advised the chief minister to stop the use of "provocative language".
"We were serious about talks and did everything according to our commitment, but the way Mamata Banerjee reacted at her public meeting on October 15 hints that the government is not at all serious about it," Maoist state committee secretary Akash said in an open letter, apparently referring to the deadline which expired on October 22.
The letter to government-appointed interlocutors said if the government was serious about talks, it should give its opinion directly in writing to the Maoists, who would do the same so that there was "transparency in the talks process".
Referring to the call to lay down arms, Akash said in the letter that surrendering arms was never on the agenda when talks were held with interlocutors on two previous occasions and "will never be in the agenda in future".
On the chief minister having called the Maoists "supari killers" at her meeting in Jhargram on October 15, where she had laid down the seven-day ultimatum, Akash said, "She needs to understand that we are neither contract killers nor the mafia and she will have to stop this kind of provocative language".
Listing a 13-point agenda for talks, the Maoist leader said, "The government will have to neutralise Trinamool Congress goons and stop the joint forces' operation for creating a proper atmosphere for talks".
"On one hand the Trinamool-backed Bhairav Bahini and the joint forces are torturing the people and destroying villages and on the other hand, the chief minister is asking us to lay down arms," stated the letter.
Accusing the government of acting undemocratically by disallowing rallies and meetings in Jungle Mahal other than by the Trinamool Congress, the letter said that everyone should have the right to protest.
Denying that Maoists resorted to killings and threats and were opposed to development, the letter said, "We want to know what the government is willing to do for peace and development?"