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Maoists in Jharkhand agree to conditional talks

Source: PTI
January 30, 2010 23:32 IST
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Refusing to lay down arms, the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) on Saturday said that it was open to talks with the Jharkhand government provided the ban over it was lifted along with the release of its cadres.

 The outfit's self-styled spokesman Gopalji said in a release, "Stop fake encounters, book policemen responsible for such encounters and compensate victims. Withdraw para-military forces from villages."

The release demanded release of Maoist Politburo members Shushil Ray, Sheela and Amitabh Bagchi and others.

Soon after Soren took over as chief minister for the third time on December 30, he had called on Maoists to abjure violence and come forward for talks.

Questioning the sincerity of Soren's offer, the release said "Can Soren resist pressure by ally the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Centre to launch attacks against us?"

It said Soren and the home secretary had offered talks while stating that operations against the Maoists would continue.

"Which means, the government is offering talks with the might of the gun."

Referring to the chief minister's meeting with Union Home minister P Chidambaram on January 28, the release claimed that Soren was under pressure to step up operations against Maoists.

Gopalji also demanded that memoranda of understanding signed with Jindal Steel, Arcelor Mittal and Tata Steel be scrapped or reviewed.

He also demanded action against other Naxal outfits like Tritiya Prastuti Samiti and Jharkhand Prastuti Committee and scrapping of the Village Defence Forces.

The offer came ahead of chief ministers' meeting with Chidambaram in Kolkata on February 9.
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