Reaching out to the Naxals from the Left-dominated Jawaharlal Nehru University campus in New Delhi, Home Minister P Chidambaram has made a fresh offer for talks to the ultra Left group provided they abjure violence.
"No killings, no demolition of buildings and give me seventy-two hours. Let me get the chief ministers together and tell you time and place. I know you will not give up arms as armed struggle is your ideology, but abjure violence and then we can discuss everything under the sun," Chidambaram said late Wednesday night, while addressing students at a seminar titled "Naxalism: Threat to Democracy and Internal Security", organised by National Students' Union of India (NSUI).
Earlier at the campus, Chidambaram was greeted with slogans and black flags by a group of pro-Naxal students who attacked the government's operations against the ultra Left outfit.
Defending freedom of speech, the home minister said, "Even extreme ideology can be propagated in India. Speech and propagation is free in a democracy. But when they (Naxals) take up arms against the state or other sections of the people, the conflict arises."
"As long as we are sworn-in to democracy and republican government there is no place for armed liberation struggle in that scenario," he added.
Questioning the Maoists taking up arms, he said, "Show me one country in the world where poverty and injustice were wiped out by arms."
He gave the examples of Malaysia, South Korea and Mauritius where poverty was eliminated through socio-economic measures and not by armed struggle.
Focusing on government's policy to tackle the Naxal menace, Chidambaram said, "We want to provide security, restore administration and then let the development flow. Security forces have been told you can retaliate only when you
are attacked upon."
Maoists want to ensure the tribals were inaccessible and incommunicado (from mainstream) by blowing up buildings, railway tracks and targeting developmental projects.
"Are they trying to create an archaeological museum in the tribal areas by keeping the tribals away from development," he asked.